Experimental art just found a new home inside a North County shopping mall.
A Ship in the Woods, the mid-century Del Mar home that’s been doubling as an alternative gallery and hosting edgy exhibitions, an artists-in-residence program, film screenings, live music and other creative happenings since 2010, is opening a new storefront gallery at Flower Hill Promenade (2720 Via de la Valle) in Del Mar. The arts nonprofit will hold a casual soft opening from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 4.
"The commercial space is an experiment for us," says R.J. Brooks, who runs A Ship in the Woods along with Kiersten Puusemp and a small team of volunteers. "We've never really had a commercial gallery before, so we're all new to this."
CityBeat reported that A Ship in the Woods' lease on its Del Mar home was set to expire in March, at which time the owners of the property had tentative plans to demolish the space. The group recently had its lease extended through August. They could get it extended again, Brooks says, but, in the meantime, they wanted to give the more commercial and public gallery space a try.
Specific programming for the new gallery, which is small (approximately 400 square feet), has yet to be solidified. But Brooks says they'll have access to the Flower Hill Promenade courtyard, which was improved as part of a $30-million mall renovation. There's been talk of hosting film screenings and other events geared toward activating the outdoor plaza.
A Ship in the Woods has signed a relatively short-term lease on the new spot. They plan to try various business models to see if they can turn the experiment into an economically viable option moving forward.
"If it works out, great," Brooks says. "But it's going to be a balance between making money and keeping the art and events interesting."