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Bringing art to the community

12 Oct 2017

Bringing art to the community Image

Local artist Titane Laurent and her partner Jonathon Miller have opened an art gallery in the Montague Precinct, which is all about bringing the community together.

The not-for-profit Laurent Gallery on Thistlethwaite St is a fresh and vibrant exhibition and events space that is open to the local community to enjoy. It also features a cafe, as well as artist studios that are available to rent.

Having both travelled extensively, Belgian-born Titane and Jonathon, who is originally from Perth, had most recently lived together in Mauritius and the United States.

Since settling in Melbourne they said they had finally found a place to call home in Montague, and ultimately, had wasted no time in putting their shared passion for art and community into practice.

“This area is our home and we never know what’s going to happen. But, for the first time, we thought we’re going to stop. We’re going to establish. We’re going to be and we’re not going to move anymore,” Jonathon said.

“Therefore, when we were looking for a place for our community we thought it had to be where we live. We were looking in South Melbourne and Port Melbourne from the start.”

As well as providing a meeting place for the community in Montague, Laurent Gallery stages regular community events including an art soiree every second Wednesday. The soirees invite locals to meet like-minded people, chat about art, share creations over a drink and win prizes.

The gallery also features a regular exhibition from a different artist each month, and Titane also works out of the studios and sells her creations to help fund the community initiative.

As the curator of the gallery, Titane said she and Jonathon regularly sourced artists for the gallery who exhibited quality, contemporary works.

“If you see art and you’re not inspired or it doesn’t make you think bigger than yourself than it’s just too plain,” she said.

“We’re not extreme like some galleries that have works that you have no idea what is going on so we try to be reasonable but it does have to be contemporary and engaging.”

With Montague consisting of a tapestry of different businesses and trades people, the pair said one of their favourite things about operating a gallery in the area had been exposing people to art who may not normally visit a gallery.

And with many more community events in the pipeline, they said they looked forward to meeting more locals to find out what they wanted from their local gallery.

“Ultimately, it’s about responding to the community. So we’ll have to see as the community builds and the character of the community develops. Then we’ll work out what we can provide for them,” Jonathon said.

“We set out to create an oasis in the jungle and we really feel like we’ve achieved that.”

For more information visit laurentgallery.com

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