7GEN Canada showing Material Matters to the world

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 08/14/2006 - 23:01.

An especially exciting project 7GEN Canada is undertaking is the transformation of the premier gallery of the glass art of Canada, Material Matters, into a virtual community. In doing this, we are taking a physical gallery at 215 Spadina Avenue, in Toronto (which 7GEN also calls home), and transforming that into a community of all Canada's glass artists, and a global marketplace for their art.

Like other outstanding galleries around the world, Material Matters hosts frequent important exhibitions of gallery artists, and has a static website used to promote the gallery and shows. As no one at the gallery is "technical", they are challenged to keep their site current... it does not currently have posted their astounding July/August show by self-taught glass master Charlie Hargraves (photos above and below), even though they have already sold around $100,000 of his work and have $100,000+ more to sell.






Besides hosting periodic exhibitions, during which they focus their sales efforts on the work of a single artist, Material Matters represents over two dozen of the nation's top glass artists, for whom the gallery staff always pursue sales. The artist's job is to create art and the gallery's job is to sell the art, and the artists. While the Material Matters gallery space has an exhibit area featuring all their gallery artists, it can only hold so much art - one or a few works by each artist - leaving 1,000s of works physically out of the marketplace, when somewhere in the world there is likely a ready buyer for all the work the artists may produce. And, to support their art work, the artists need the sales... to support the gallery, Material Matters needs the sales.


The gallery is owned and curated by the most highly respected and beloved champion of Canadian Glass art in the world, Lisa Wuohela, who has represented leading Canadian glass artists for over 22 years. Material Matters is located in spectacular space, with heavy, high quality pedestrian and vehicle traffic and high visibility, and it has been in existence for many years and has strong brand recognition and a refined mailing list, and that is the combination of assets they leverage to sell the art they represent. Ultimately, that makes them a national treasure, but not a strong global marketplace. Being in worldly Toronto and representing world-class art insures an international market, but they are not adequately tapping into global markets that offer enormous growth opportunity.

Material Matters artists need their gallery to succeed in the global marketplace, and each artist needs to be more successful in that marketplace themselves. Just as Material Matters is not a technology company, each artist has limited knowledge and resources to dedicate to web-based marketing and sales and so they do not sell nearly as much art as they could if better represented on-line. While in Toronto recently, I met with some of Material Matters' artists I know and they confirmed the difficulty of the life of the artist and welcome all the help with sales they can get. In many cases, in addition to fine art, they sell production glass art, like globes for commerical lighting, so are in positions to grow revenues in multiple tracks.


Based on these realities, 7GEN is setting out to make the virtual community for Material Matters the most powerful arts portal in the world. Through the technology we support, the gallery will become a world-class virtual, living, non-stop exhibition space for all the work of all the current gallery artists and all Canadian glass artists appropriate to this venue, available all the time, supporting all aspects of marketing, communications and sales. Thus, this will the the point of sales system and even inventory management system for the gallery and artists. The portal will enable customers and artists to share community and communicate. In brainstorming with some the the gallery artists, there is also interest in using blogging, and forums, and even putting webcams in studios to truly share the art making process with customers.

Throughout this posting, I've inserted some images from Material Matters and an artist's studio, as the work is so stunning and worth sharing. Over the next few month, these images and ideas will come together with 1,000s more to become a marketplace and community, in which you will be welcome at all times. You will find work you will love, meet artists and collectors you will relate to, and see art you will want to own. You will see the marriage of technology, art, artists and their community come together for the next seven generations.

Home of Material Matters and now 7GEN

Welcome to the home of Material Matters, and now 7GEN Canada, at 215 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Canada
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