By Sarah Evans
I have reoccurring dreams about finding secret spaces in my home. I open a closet and find another room. A hidden window reveals a turret I never noticed before. I think I’m dreaming again when I visit Gallery Deluxe Gallery. Located “directly above” 6015 Willow Street in Halifax’s North End, visitors climb the stairs to a second-story flat, walk through a living room and ki
tchen, then out the back door into a small stairwell. From there you are invited to climb a metal ladder and hoist yourself through a trapdoor in the ceiling, revealing a small attic gallery space.
Gallery Deluxe Gallery, run by Willow Street resident Paul Hammond and ex-resident Francesca Tallone, opened in the summer of 2005. The gallery has featured the work of as many as 40 different artists, both local and international, in monthly group and individual shows. More submissions are received than can be accepted and the next year’s worth of shows are booked. Last month the Gallery Diorama Gallery, a box mounted on the wall below the ladder, was introduced as another miniature art space to accommodate more shows.
There’s something very personal about visiting the Gallery Deluxe Gallery. Tallone acknowledges “some people are put-off when they realize that [the GDG is] in someon
e’s flat, but that’s something that is intriguing about it as well.” Once inside, visitors are forced to look at and interact with art in a unique way. With a ceiling less than three feet tall, you must sit or kneel, crawling around the space. Only four or five people can fit at a time, so Monday night openings involve hanging out in the kitchen, talking and waiting your turn. Many shows are site-specific installations tailored to the small space and everything has a special charm when exhibited this way.
Although inviting the public into a private home can be difficult the Gallery Deluxe Gallery presents a different forum for showing and viewing contemporary art. Smiles and snacks make it hard to feel unwelcome.
“I think a lot of people in our community are less daunted by our gallery than they would be by a formal gallery downtown,” Hammond says. “Except for, you know, those people with a fear of heights.”
More information and photos of shows at www.gallerydeluxegallery.com. Open Sundays 12-5pm, or by appointment.