Jennifer Inacio: Welcome. We are so pleased to talk to you as a founding member of PAMM’s IWC and as an important female gallerist.
Mindy Solomon: Thank you for having me, as I am passionate about the International Women’s Committee and am so glad that the group is growing as an important part of PAMM’s mission.
JI: How did you start you career as a gallerist?
MS: I had been teaching and collecting while raising my four children and decided to open my fist gallery in St. Petersburgh in 2009, when I found a space next to the museum. After a short while, I did not find material of interest to me locally, as I was forming more curatorial aspirations and experimenting with different shows and materials. As such, I wanted to expand contact and conversation with the contemporary art community and operated in Wynwood from 2013-2015. The area was becoming more of an entertainment zone, so I found this space in Little River in 2015 when it was still a very raw, urban neighborhood and as it was underdeveloped, I was able to get this space which is 4,500 square feet. I have enjoyed a wonderful five years here and am now excited and intrigued by what is happening in Allapattah.
JI: Little River and Little Haiti have changed so much during your time here. Please talk about the differences you see between this and your new space?
MS: I like being a maverick and while it was a bit isolating in Little River at first, with the arrival of Citadel and others the area became more active. Allapattah has appealed to me for a long time and when I saw a space that was in between two active warehouses and with inactive railroad tracks that could be a parking lot, I was intrigued. I believe that gallerists are narcissists who want to show people the world as they see it and this new space offers that opportunity. The gallery space will be industrial but designed and I am so happy to be working with Rene Gonzales Architects.
JI: Changes can be exciting and transformative allowing us new ways to think and work.
MS: Yes, I acquired the building way before the situation we are in now, but in a sense, it offers me hope and something to look forward to. As some of you know, I have recently lost my husband so this is indeed a difficult time.
JI: Do you plan to expand your roster of artists at the new space?
MS: Relevant to the IWC, it is important that women in the art world become involved in the ownership of their space, and owning a building will allow me to possibly serve as a role model for other female gallerists. I see the real estate side as having an influence on the cultural landscape. And this becomes even more important as we mature.
The curation is a way that I express my creative vision, and I have a strong interest in contemporary design with a focus on objects. I am passionate about diasporic perspectives on the culture and how people from other places figure out how they belong in a new community.
JI: What major challenges do you see for women in the art world?
MS: Starting my gallery as a mother of four, I was raising children and being supportive of my husband’s career, so my coming to the art market was a very different experience from someone who begins right after college or an internship. I think my experience allowed me a friendliness and an ability to work very hard, and you have to be willing to do everything! I believe that I enjoy the trust of my colleagues and clients early on, due to my personal experiences which form how I navigate in my space and the value systems that I have within my business. The more able you are to be flexible and take on anything from hanging a show to cleaning the bathrooms, the better you can adapt to challenges such as the pandemic, the economic fluxes, and other challenges.
JI: How do you build relationships with clients and artists?
MS: It takes time and years to establish meaningful relationships and to build trust. You have to be willing to be patient and invest that time.
JI: The pandemic has affected your move, of course?
MS: We had planned a summer move and the works are in storage. So we have a virtual exhibition on view this month with fellow IWC member Francie Bishop Good, and are planning a summer virtual show with Shea Morales, a New York-based collaborator.
JI: Thank you so much for talking with us.
MS: Thank you for having me! PAMM’s International Women’s Committee is one of my big passions as we work towards more female representation in the art world.