Sarah Williams of Space Studio and Gallery, Whanganui

We spoke to Sarah Williams, founder of Space Studio and Gallery (and past participant on our Mentoring Programme!) about her experiences in opening this multi functioning space.

Can you tell us about Space Studio and Gallery, how it works and who’s involved?

Space Studio and Gallery is solely managed and owned by myself. It was created to support local artists by providing exhibiting space and studio space. Artists put forward proposals for exhibitions and also have the opportunity to hire studio space to make work on site upstairs. We currently have 5 studio artists, with the facilities for eight and we are booked a year in advance for exhibitions! If you are interested in having an exhibition or hiring a studio then you can find all the information online on our new website:

What motivated you to embark on this concept?

Well to be honest, it actually started off being quite a selfish endeavour! A couple of friends and I freshly graduated from art school, were really craving studio space and opportunities to show our work, but where could we do it? I saw a real gap in Whanganui with a lot of artists feeling the same way. So I bit the bullet and two years on we are still going strong! I feel really blessed that I am able to work a job that both serves my community and props up and supports my own art practice I really do sometimes feel like I’m living the dream!

What have been the greatest challenges?

I think the greatest challenge has been the past 11 months – maintaining a work and life balance with my new gorgeous baby girl Addisyn. I think a lot of working parents would nod their heads in agreement it can be tough, but 100% worth it.

What have been the greatest rewards?

Whanganui has always had a vibrant arts community, it is definitely the greatest reward to see that we can add to this community and provide opportunities to many talented artists. I’ve also formed some amazing lifelong relationships and friendships out of running Space so that of course is a pretty special bonus! I always get a little sense of surreal satisfaction at all I’ve been able to achieve with Space, sometimes it seems to have a life of its own!

What advice would you give to others wanting to start a gallery/space in other centres?

My recommendation really is to start small and steady. Creating momentum and a presence early in your arts community is a must, keep an eye on cash-flow and don’t get too ahead of yourself with renovations and improvements, things will happen in time as you grow. Be consistent, professional and above all passionate!

What is the one item you couldn’t be without?

My Laptop! I swear you can run anything so long as you have the internet! Also a lot of my productivity is reliant on a hot cup of coffee to start the day from the best coffee shop in  town, Jolt (which fortunately is just around the corner from Space! ).