October 5, 2017, marked an incredible day for Jonny Skye. Skye Gallery opened showcasing extraordinary contemporary talent with a fresh new vision.
I sat with Jonny and got to know her wonderful spirit and brilliant creative side. Born and raised in Oregon, her roots stem from indigenous ancestry with a deep connection to the earth that played a huge role in her upbringing. Always a curious child, Jonny told me she never met anyone who she wanted to be like and knew heading east to further her education would open a whole new world for her. Landing at Brown University enrolled as a pre-med student, she quickly became involved in a variety of school activities. It was one film course that made a significant turning point in her life: She came to the realization she was an artist. With an eight-year journey to complete a visual arts degree from Brown, she took time out to travel and became a mom in the process. The pull of education always drew her back to Rhode Island as she continued her education at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and obtained a Master of Arts in teaching. Her path then lead her to teaching art at several public schools in and across Providence, at the RISD museum, CityArts and several grant projects. These experiences changed her life and her heart.
Carrie Decker (Motif): Tell me your mission of Skye Gallery.
Jonny Skye: It’s all about connecting all the parts. I want to support living contemporary artists who otherwise would not have access to traditional marketing for themselves and their work. We need vision with words. That’s soulful. Artists throughout time move us to a better place by telling us about ourselves. There is power in conversation and we need that power of visual language to move us forward.
CD: How did this whole thing come to fruition?
JS: I’ve always had an idea for a gallery in my head. After taking time to life in The Gambia, West Africa with my family, I found myself back in Rhode Island. I picked up again and began teaching and consulting doing entrepreneurial side projects. I took a business planning class at the Center for Woman & Enterprise and wrote a business plan for an art gallery. Eagerly waiting to hear about a new job lead me to a conversation with the owner at Coffee Exchange. I continue to work there assisting with marketing communications and have known the family for more than 25 years. The owner helped me see my vision with start-up money to launch Skye Gallery. At that point, it became real. I trusted my instincts. I was back to my roots, back in the dirt, climbing that tree and seeing my vision. I scouted out space to lease and opened in October 2017. I believe and am fortunate to see beauty in people.
CD: What’s the best thing about Skye Gallery?
JS: I hope it is a joyful place. A bridge of different worlds and different ideas. It’s celebratory. It gets the dialogue going with acceptance of honest, authentic artists and how they represent themselves. All those good things! It’s about turning people on to things they normally wouldn’t know to learn. The human condition is now on a universal personal level. With a variety of trained and untrained skills, it’s how people are creating and working now. How they look at life and how they react to events that surround us. I like to add a mixed variety. Music complements the works and see how people intersect here. Relationships are building and are helpful. It’s a gift to meet artists.
CD: If you were not a gallery owner, what would you be doing?
JS: That’s hard to say. I have strong leadership and management skills. I would probably be doing nonprofit education. I am an artist; that’s who I am.
CD: Tell me your plans for the future of Skye.
JS: My next exhibition, titled “Reconnected,” will feature paintings by Brett Cimino through April 27, 2018.
In May I will be showing five Providence photographers followed by Peruko Ccopacatty, an Aymara artist honoring 40 years of his work.
In June the gallery will take part in PVDFest with live music, painting and printmaking.
Skye Gallery, 381 Broadway, PVD; 401-481-4480; skye-gallery.com