Only a handful of years ago, finding a good cup of coffee in Hamilton wasn’t the easiest task. However, in recent years, independent coffeehouses have been opening at a rapid pace, becoming community hubs in almost every neighbhourhood. Recently, Redchurch Café and Gallery opened as an independent espresso bar in Gore Park. What makes it especially unique is that it offers patrons a dedicated contemporary gallery space to enjoy while visiting for coffee or lunch.
Redchurch recently opened Out of the Vaults, a pop-up exhibit that explores the rich history of Gore Park (and its surrounding area) through images from the Hamilton Public Library’s Local History & Archives department. It is on display until August 31st.
To learn more about the exhibit, and why it was important to Redchurch to feature a dedicated gallery space, we spoke with owner Graziella Panessa.
Why was it important to you to include a gallery element at Redchurch? Was it always part of your vision?
Having a gallery element within Redchurch was an essential part of the vision as I wanted to offer a formal art gallery space (not just art on café walls) to maximize appeal for art collectors and enthusiasts who are serious about investing in art. The concept was to offer exhibitions that break up the routine for coffee lovers by enhancing their coffee experience and to expand the art scene for art lovers by putting together a exhibition program with a focus on contemporary art in different mediums. I am a huge advocate of contemporary art being accessible to the public as much as possible. At the same time, it is also important for me to provide artists with a unique space that they feel they can work within and invite the public to observe and engage.
Coffee and art seem like a perfect pairing to me. Can you expand on that a little?
Another mission at Redchurch is to be engaged with the community and be a coffee shop provides daily opportunities to do so. When you throw art into the mix it also incorporates a cultural element that is exciting and gets people talking or perceiving things in a way they might not have found otherwise — a little escape from the daily grind perhaps.
Moreover, sometimes gallery spaces can be intimidating and make people think they need to know art to view exhibitions. Having a café in the front invites people into the space and makes the gallery more accessible. This is also mutually beneficial for the artist because they maximize exposure.
Tell me about your latest exhibit, Out of the Vaults.
It’s a collaboration with the Hamilton Public Library. We decided to do a pop up of sorts which peeks into their digital archives. They have an amazing database of over three million archived photographs that are not normally seen by the public unless they are sought after through means of research or specific interest.
Why do you think Out of the Vaults is a fitting exhibit for your space?
HPL was looking for a space to showcase some of these works and I thought the gallery space was perfect for this kind of concept as the gallery wants to exhibit works that are unique or have not been seen before by the public. Although these are public images, the idea of unearthing images that might not ever have been seen is really exciting! Not to mention, there are some fabulous shots over time of downtown which ignites nostalgia and excitement for Hamilton’s future.
What’s next for the gallery? What can we expect to see soon?
Our next exhibition begins September 5 (With a collectors’ preview on September 4). SONS OF THE STAGE: Oasis and Other Supernovas — A Photographic Installation
is by James Fry, and features bands like Oasis and Supernovas. The show has never been shown in Canada and is part of a larger travelling show from Europe. Some works available are first edition photographs and represent the journey and not the destination of these bands. It’s going to be very interactive and for the music fans.
We don’t want to give to much away, but we have a lot of diverse, exciting exhibitions ahead and some wonderful events being hosted in the gallery space consisting of dance, performance art, and theatre to name a few, so stay tuned!