Located in a former medical supply store at 405 Freeport Road, KURATEDpgh recently opened with a selection of pieces by nine artists working in fine arts and ceramics.
Rachel understands that it may seem risky opening a gallery in a time when many businesses are struggling, but she and Katie felt an obligation to support local artists affected by the pandemic. She has witnessed this first-hand as the Arts and Culture Manager at Pittsburgh International Airport, saying that program — designed to expose local artists to world travelers — was put on hold.
“We have toyed around with the idea a little bit,” says Rachel. “In some way, getting our sleeves rolled up and doing this was almost a response to the pandemic because in my field, I saw so many artists losing opportunities to engage with the public. I think the pandemic, in a way, encouraged us even more to do it.”
As both arts producers and collectors, they wanted to introduce more people to the idea of acquiring collections, whether it's paintings or functional ceramic pieces. Guests are free to visit the gallery and see the work in person, or view it online.
“People are spending more time at home now, so they're more interested in what their space looks like,” says Rachel.
The gallery adds to several projects that the two women have taken on. In the past, they have shown their respective work in collaborative exhibitions — Rachel works in printmaking and painting, Katie in jewelry and installations — and they have also curated shows together. They even have a website (rkrearick.com) outlining their mission of working together.
KURATEDpgh serves another purpose as a way for the women to create spaces that are “inclusive and speak to equality and being welcoming to everyone,” says Rachel.
“For us, being a same-sex married couple … we're really focused on making sure to have representation for women, people from the queer community, and people of color,” says Rachel. “That's really something that's important to us.”
Katie, who teaches at Waynesburg University and founded the Allegheny Metals Collective, hopes to also showcase jewelry at KURATEDpgh with a dedicated wall space or exhibition.
As they prepare to settle in Aspinwall, the two Stanton Heights residents share a laugh over not being overly familiar with the neighborhood and say they look forward to engaging with and building partnerships with the area’s restaurants and other establishments.
“We hadn't spent that much time in Aspinwall, and now were like, ‘Why haven't we been over here?’ There's so much going on and it takes seven minutes to get here,” says Rachel. “We really want to connect with the surrounding businesses and community to make it a more robust experience for people who are coming.”
In addition to the gallery, both women plan on maintaining their full-time jobs. Rachel says the airport has begun to “rebound a little bit” after a significant drop in traffic, and they plan on bringing exhibitions back soon. Katie says “everything is full steam ahead on campus” at Waynesburg University, where she has been teaching the arts to smaller or split-up, in-person classes.
Even as the pandemic leaves many things uncertain, Rachel and Katie are ready to welcome visitors and potential art buyers to KURATEDpgh, albeit at a limited or appointment-only capacity so everyone can social distance.
“I’m looking forward to settling into the gallery and gradually bringing in a wide variety of media and styles to exhibit,” says Katie.
KURATEDpgh. 405 Freeport Road, Aspinwall. kuratedpgh.com