Jonny Skye, Skye Gallery, Providence, RI
The blossoming West-Side neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island is home to the Skye Gallery. Owner and namesake, Jonny Skye, opened the doors to her gallery in October of 2017. The variety of style and background of artists exemplifies Skye’s vision to act as a catalyst for social change in the city and a greater community abroad.
Growing up in Beaverton, Oregon, Skye recounts childhood stories of fishing trips to the coast with her family. As a descendant of First-Nation peoples, a connection to nature was a part of her upbringing. This helped her gain values of redemption and recovery, which she now seeks to address in her work. First coming to Providence as an undergrad, Skye attended Brown University, earning her bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts. She then went on to study at RISD, earning her master’s degree in Art Education.
Skye began her work in public school systems as an art teacher. Here she saw a potential untapped by what was offered. Advancement in her career then focused on education policy and non-profits. She has continually aimed to give voice to the unheard or underrepresented. The multitudes of cultures and ethnicities in Providence embody an urban Renaissance. It is the beauty Skye seeks to bring to light with opening her gallery.
In May of 2017, Skye enrolled in the Center for Women and Enterprise’s (CWE) Business Plan Development course. Through this experience she gained the discipline and structure needed for igniting her spark. In a quick turn around, she secured a lease for the gallery space at 381 Broadway in August and by October had opened her doors to the public. She credits CWE for their willingness to work with her; the micro-loan she received provided necessary capitol.
The Skye Gallery acts as a venue for artists to sell their work. Additionally, Skye offers services as an Artist Manager: she helps artists obtain commission contracts, both public and private; she connects artists to art education positions; she helps develop networks between artists and businesses; and she archives artist’s portfolios.
To promote accessibility and community involvement, the gallery organizes open house art shows. These events showcase an artist’s, or multiple artists’, new works. In the first 10 months of business, Skye has hosted 13 of these events - no small feat considering the gallery space is transformed to suit the motif being curated for each different show.
Providing a platform for underrepresented artists and changing social narratives is what Skye hopes to achieve with her work. To spread this vision to a larger audience, she looks to expand her reach. In the future, Skye wants to incorporate transport capacity and boost her online sales. Building a network beyond the city of Providence will enable the development of the social inertia she seeks to create.
Skye say, “I love my life right now. I am living my best life - right now!” She feels that working for herself is a true blessing because even though she holds herself to the highest standards, she can do so with love and forgiveness. Being open for less than a year, Skye knows that her business is in its infancy. She has adapted her lifestyle to accommodate it’s needs, working endless hours, changing spending habits, and doing whatever is needed to achieve business success. Although you won’t see any of Jonny Skye’s work in the gallery, her curations and efforts paint a greater picture, which in their own right are true art.
Special thanks to CWE volunteer writer, J. Morgan Henry.