Victoria Page and Victoria Strange, Gallery Directors
Victoria Page and Victoria Strange opened Halifax’s Gallery Page and Strange in 2005. Since then, they’ve shown work by artists such as Joe Fafard, Karen Kulyk and Jack Bishop. Page and Strange both earned BFAs at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). Strange majored in Ceramics and graduated in 1998; Page finished three years later and majored in Sculpture.
Being an art student prepares you to be a creative thinker. For many of us, there wasn’t an objective involved in studying art. It was more a passion for the study, and then this passion led us elsewhere. We stumbled along and found our way. If you look around the city of Halifax, a lot of the really interesting stores—furniture stores and so on—are run by NSCAD alumni. Although we may not all have serious business degrees or backgrounds, we think differently about forming a business.
The contacts we made while attending art school—teachers who are really influential—all still impact the business. We met a lot of the artists that we represent while at NSCAD. We’ve represented some of our professors here.
We don’t represent run-of-the-mill artwork, and we don’t think that the work that we carry is primarily decorative work. We carry more challenging artists. Perhaps we have an appreciation or understanding of what we’re representing that we wouldn’t have if we didn’t have that education. It really trains your eye. There’s no doubt that that we honed that at NSCAD.
There was a learning curve when it came to the business aspect. We had to learn really basic things, like when we had to get insurance for liability, what our rent should be and how to navigate the marketplace. We made some mistakes in our first year that a trained business person wouldn’t have made.
It’s nice to be in a job where you still feel completely involved in the art community, and where you still deal with artists. If you’re not going to be a practicing artist, it’s nice to have that feeling of fulfillment. Having your own business is obviously appealing because you have an element of control and freedom that you don’t have when you’re working for a gallery. The curatorial aspect is really fun. Putting together the artists that interest you and dealing with work that inspires you is a pretty exciting thing. Promoting the work is fun. Hanging the work and curating the show—all of that came naturally after our experience at art school.
Without the artwork, we wouldn’t be here. You’ve got to love the artwork and the feeling of participating in and promoting that community. We fully believe in what we’re doing.