Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Maya Allison joins 5 Traverse

Maya Allison will become full time co-director of the Providence commercial gallery 5 Traverse on Nov. 1, owner Jesse Smith tells me.

The move is notable because of its timing (see: economic crash) and Allison’s background. She just organized this month’s Pixilerations [v.5] new media festival in Providence. In January, she finished three years as a contemporary art curatorial assistant (and for a time interim department head) at the RISD Museum, culminating in her exhibit "Music Video/Silent Film: Innovations in the Moving Image" last fall. She also helped RISD Museum contemporary art curator Judith Tannenbaum organize the 2006 show "Wunderground: Providence, 1995 to the Present.” Allison studied art history at Reed College and film at Columbia University.

Smith, who started 5 Traverse in April 2007, tells me, “In blunt contrast to the economic times and the gloom and doom in the next 10 years, 5 Traverse is going to push to be a responsible conduit and curatorial force in the area.”

How can the gallery expand its staff at this (economic) time? Smith denies that he’s independently wealthy. Instead, he says, he plans to pursue more business through art consulting. He points to significant commissions that resulted from helping Meditech build its regional art collection when it was furnishing a new facility in Fall River, which opened in May.

“That was just an amazing boon,” Smith says. “And that’s what the gallery is running on.”


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