Meet the owners
Samantha de Reus is so passionate about young artists having a platform to showcase their talents she launched Gallerie V in Cambridge, dedicated to artists aged 14 to 25
Where does your love of art stem from?
I don’t have a background in art as such, but my daughter Vienna, who is 17, is a talented artist, so we’ve become involved in her passion and followed her with that love. My grandfather was also an artist – an oil painter in Ireland – who painted a lot of religious figures. So, it’s a real passion; I love art and I love young people so that’s where the idea comes from for Gallerie V.
What made you chose to open a gallery aimed specifically at artists aged 14 to 25?
We really wanted to support young artists because we feel that this age group is overlooked, as well as make young people’s art accessible to the public. We don’t sell anything – we’re exhibition only – so what we do is give artists exposure and an opportunity to go through the process of being exhibited, attend the vernissage, and talk to people as they volunteer as well. They create a fantastic network whilst exhibiting alongside one another and attending private viewings as we always have very sociable events with bubbly and snacks!
Why did you choose Cambridge for your business?
We’d been living overseas for many years, and were looking for a university city, because we knew it would be full of young people who are energetic, positive and not jaded by life! Our gallery space is a little quirky; it’s over 200 years old, and set over four floors, and in a great position, on route to King’s Parade. We did quite a bit of renovation before opening our doors in May 2021.
How did your source the artists for your launch exhibition?
Vienna created our first website and set up our social media, then we put posters up in the gallery window. I even approached artists in the street who I’d seen sat drawing. We had 25 artists in our first exhibition, aged from 14 upwards, featuring a mix of oil painting, drawing, textiles, mixed-media, photography, and illustration. These included Molly Cawthorn, who is now our gallery manager, as she had three beautiful paintings in the exhibition. We met and really clicked, so I asked Molly to help me out and she agreed!
Can you tell us about some of your regular young exhibitors?
We have artists from all over the UK, from Wales to Newcastle, plus at least 12 different nationalities, including Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese, as many artists are overseas students at the University. Meg Selway is an artist we’d exhibit repeatedly if we could! She is a tattoo artist and her work is very creative and so exquisitely finished; her paintings have a real glowing quality to them. We have a lot of Vienna’s oil paintings in the gallery, many of her family, and they have a real ‘informed by the masters’ feel to them, but with a unique twist. Another is Alexandra Hayes, whose work in oil always has a fun or fantastical element to it, like her Mother and Child, which features an octopus and a baby entwined.
How many exhibitions have you had so far?
We’ve had nine exhibitions, featuring around 120 artists, and held a series of pop-up events too. We had a Ukraine fundraiser, where we gave use of the gallery to a Ukrainian lady to showcase the art which she’d brought to the UK in a suitcase. Our Body & Mind exhibition earlier this year raised money for the mental health charity, Mind.
What’s the feedback been like from the young artists?
When they come to an opening evening and take their family and friends around the gallery to see their work on the walls, they are just so proud! To me, honestly, those are the best times when I really feel that this gallery is worth it; when you see how inspired they are and how completely happy and validated they are, that’s the best moment! That, and the amazing feedback from the public.
Gallerie V is at 13 St Johns Street, Cambridge. Visit galleriev.com
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