Form & Function, A New Gallery in Woodland
Have you checked out Woodland’s newest gallery? Form & Function at 524 Main Street is a beautiful space that features local crafters and fine artists. Open for less than a month, Form & Function has quickly filled its gallery with beautiful pottery, jewelry, photography, bags, and more.
I met with the owner, Hank Gold and gallery curator, Michelle Burr to talk shop, hear how they decided on Woodland, and what the journey has been like.
My suggestion: visit when you have at least 30 minutes. Although the gallery is spacious and inviting, there is so much to see. Take your time and enjoy the artistry of each item and ask questions. Hank, Michelle, and the staff are very knowledgeable about the art and the artist. They are happy to share the artist’s story and usually a special note about certain pieces. Special note – Punky Jane Jewelry is sold here!
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday noon – 5:00 pm
How did Form & Function start?
Hank: It was around 1997 when I lived in San Francisco. I often attended open studio events. I would see these great artists who didn’t have any marketing skills and couldn’t afford to go to shows or didn’t have their own studio space, or if they did they were in terrible neighborhoods.
At the time I had my own Accounting practice but I always wanted to create a space to showcase these artists. I occasionally looked for space and found that areas of San Francisco were changing. If a space looked good, it seemed that the neighborhood wasn’t a good fit. I could never find that perfect space in a creative, inviting neighborhood. Until we moved to Woodland!
Hank: We moved to Davis in 2010 to be near family. Eventually, after our move, an opportunity for my partner to take over Woodland School of Dance came about. We found that we loved the people in Woodland and so we decided to move here too. We’re excited to see all the new things happening downtown and in the neighborhood.
I’m friends with Wally Sheffield, our broker, who knew what I wanted to do. One day he called me up and said, “This is your space, you have to see it!” I walked in and fell in love with it. It was meant to be, a beautiful space and great location. Within in about a minute, I knew it would happen. This was back in April of this year.
What did you have to do to prepare the space?
Hank: The front half of the space was perfect and empty. The back half needed work; Old metal desks, old carpet, and file cabinets. I figured I could open up quickly in the first half and then expand back as needed. I started working on the backspace, pulling up a corner of the carpet…and then it got bigger and bigger! Originally the open date was to be the first week of July. I decided I wanted to take my time and do it right. As the summer wore on with that heat, I was glad I didn’t push myself to get the gallery ready.
What is the process of procuring artists?
Hank: Since we are brand new, getting artists and artisans was difficult at first. There is a relationship and trust they have to have with the gallery owner. That takes time which is what we gave ourselves by opening in October, rather than July. Now, artists come in and browse, check out the space and introduce themselves to us.
Talk about what you’ve curated so far?
Michelle: Our focus is on local artists. We did try really hard to keep it centralized to Woodland but we’ve had to branch out. It’s Northern California artists, with the farthest being from Grass Valley and Chico. As mentioned earlier, it was hard to connect with the Woodland area artists, but that has greatly improved since we opened. An artist’s artwork is exposing who they are, so many are tentative about coming in. Often they visit us multiple times before a connection is made. We’re looking for fine craft, something that is truly special in some way. The art should be well crafted or something that is unusual for the craft. We currently have around 30 artists on the floor now, with new artists coming in.
What’s the process for the artist to show in the gallery?
Michelle: We talk about their work and how it fits in the gallery. So whether they need to do something to make it more saleable, gift-like, etc. Once that happens we go into contract and their crafts are on consignment with us. For crafters, the contract is for as long as we are both in agreement. For the gallery art, the contract is a monthly show.
Will you hold events here?
Michelle: We have a weekly class, our first is already booked up. We will also offer an intro to screen printing and intro to weaving for children. Every Thursday we’ll have a drop-in and draw class for an hour.
What do you want Woodland to know?
Michelle: We are really supportive of Woodland. Everyone who works here lives in Woodland. Our goal to eventually have all Woodland artists.
Hank: We’re partnering with non-profits, so at times 100% of the proceeds from certain artists will be donated. For instance, the proceeds from Almond Blossom cards go to the Woodland Parent Nursery School.
Michelle: One of the biggest events will be a fundraiser for YFSA, Yolo Family Service Agency. They provide mental health services for Yolo County. The chosen artist has a lot of art he would like to sell. That event will be in December.