PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
by Suzanne Volmer
In developing her Providence-based gallery, Jonny Skye’s modus operandi involves supporting creative voices that she views as under-recognized. Her hope is that artists’ works can “bubble up from the Earth’s crust to express their truths.”
In a recent conversation, Skye discussed her commitment to support artists’ dialogues of diverse aesthetic content. Economic empowerment and fair trade practices for artists are concepts that she has made intrinsic to the gallery’s paradigm. With her stewardship, she hopes to have artists worry less about paying rent and buying food. By lessening these pressures, her plan is to further direct their attention to their creative processes.
Her approach blends business acumen with social justice, and this sentiment may have been what appealed to longtime friend Charlie Fishbein. As a pioneer of global fair-trade practices and the founder of The Coffee Exchange, a local business, Fishbein invested in Skye’s start-up vision. Essentially, Skye wants her gallery to function as a platform of free speech, and its motto is “Extraordinary Vision Remarkable Times.” She believes people are hurting, and sees art as a remedy.
Framing or cultivating the idea of visual frontierism is also an aspect of Skye’s arts management approach, which is linked to the identity of the West Side of Providence where the gallery is located. In operation for less than a year, the gallery is a well-organized storefront business on Broadway. The neighborhood attracts artists and they have participated in its revitalization by creating an emergent scene — and Skye Gallery fits into that trajectory.