If you build it, they will come


A few months ago we blogged about the [(6)] – six alumni photography students who have come together again to create a new body of work. This work shot in Oxford, England and exhibited in Oxford, Canada.

To add further interest to an already exciting event the Oxford Riverside Gallery was set up by one of OCA’s MA students Mathew Aldred.

This is how it came about…

“I saw a need where I live to have a gallery that was primarily non-commercial dedicated to showing exciting and challenging contemporary art – a place for the many serious emerging and established artists to show outside of the few elite institutions that already exist.

It is particularly difficult for emerging artists to find spaces for solo shows. I don’t have any money, but was able to convince the local town that if they gave me the space I would attract many more people to the town and put it on the cultural map.

I opened in January and this has worked out as planned, with the mayor very happy to have so many more visitors and local shopkeepers noting more clients etc. I didn’t want to involve myself in any finances but didn’t want the town council to be involved either, so I just ask artists to make a small donation (if they sell anything) to the school arts program where I teach – cheques go straight to the school.


I don’t charge anything for my time or labour, but I get a great venue for showing my students work and my students get to see great contemporary artwork. It would be nice if the government grant bodies were interested in small spaces like ours because then we could apply for grants to pay artists to show. But to grow this big would require significantly more time than I have at present.

However another alternative source of funds could be through traditional patronage. I have been in contact with local businesses that have shown some interest in this. Also, I intend to explore the online systems such as Patreon and Indiegogo, which could allow the gallery to have funds by crowdsourcing – small amounts from lots of patrons to help those artists that show. The [(6)] did this directly with their show using Indiegogo.

Oxford Riverside Gallery is now an artist-run space creating opportunities for the presentation of new and exciting contemporary work and the collaboration of artists locally, nationally and internationally. We are non-commercial, and operate with the assistance of the Town of Oxford, Nova Scotia and Oxford Regional Education Centre, Nova Scotia.”

It is possible.


You can subscribe to the newsletter and follow the Oxford Riverside Gallery on social media here

Details of the [(6)] show can be found here.


  1. RobTM 27 October 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I’d just like to add that the gallery space at ORG is really nice, not the normal white cube as you can see. The opening of the [( 6 )] go to Oxford exhibition was, in my eyes at least, a great success, which is largely due what the locals think of the space – sure, there will have been some curiosity about the other Oxford and the 6 people from outside NS coming to exhibit, but they didn’t know us at all, and many didn’t know Oxford U.K. either…

    Great job on the gallery Mathew – maybe a model I can explore when I have time after the MA.

  2. Catherine 28 October 2016 at 9:44 am

    I knew about the gallery from talking with members of [(6)] but hadn’t realised that Mathew had himself had founded the gallery – and with such initiative. Congratulations, it’s looks such a good space.

  3. Alan 30 October 2016 at 10:05 pm

    I’ll need to add Oxford to my list of places to visit the next time I’m in Nova Scotia. Congratulations to Matthew and the members of [(6)]!


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