Noah Hook (BFA ’19) and Kim Peters (BFA ’19) weren’t content to let an old shed lie unused. Over the summer, the two cleaned out and refurbished a dilapidated shed in South Highland Park, transforming it into the charming Rump Gallery. The public art venue will be up and running soon, with the intention of breaking down the barriers that complicate admission into prestigious galleries. By eschewing application fees and standard white walls of traditional galleries, Hook and Peters hope their new space will surprise artists and audiences alike.
The pair started restoring the shed as soon as they moved into their new house with two other roommates in July. They quickly realized how the space might be useful for local artists hoping to show work.
“Noah took an immediate interest in the shed and wanted to clear it out,” Peters said. “And then it wasn’t until later when we were like, ‘Oh, we should turn it into a gallery.’”
Hook said he found about 26 buckets of paint, which he stashed around the yard and in the crawlspace, a king-size mattress and construction materials while gutting the formerly neglected shed.
“The shed is its own entity,” Hook said. “People are going to come in the first time and be like, ‘Oh, we’re in this dark dirty shed. What’s going on here?’ … But at the same time, it’s coming with none of the high pristine pressures that a white wall gallery space is going to have.”
Hook and Peters are both artists, and they’ve experienced firsthand the inaccessibility of professional art galleries. They say their humble shed can be a safe space for artists with experimental and unfinished projects, which might be rejected by the ritzy curators of other institutions.
“I think that Richmond specifically could use a lot more space for young emerging artists to be able to show their work and do it cheaply in a way that really is benefiting them more than anyone,” Hook said.
Image by Jon Mirador.