June 20, 2016
Wright Harvey on Sugarlift Gallery’s New NoMad Location
In the past year, there has been a wonderful influx of art galleries into NoMad. The latest arrival Sugarlift Gallery not only confirms NoMad as a center of art and creativity in New York City but also underscores NoMad’s growing tech community.
Sugarlift Gallery is currently at the forefront of leveraging digital opportunities to redefine what an art gallery can be and so it chose NoMad to fit its new needs.
Founder and Chief Executive Wright Harvey explained to Experience Nomad how the gallery started, “We began as a traditional art gallery in Bushwick, with the mission of offering younger art collectors a way to connect with new artists, while making the work of new artists more accessible.” The gallery operated from the idea that there was a huge market of potential art collectors being underserved — professionals with disposable income, but without the large sums of money needed to purchase works at the big galleries in Chelsea. In an interview with the Financial Times, Harvey estimated this market to be as large as three million customers.
“We focused on providing educational and experiential events focusing on our emerging artists and the mediums they work in,” he told us. “At our Bushwick space we would have beer and cheese tastings, panels, drink-and-draws — lots of different events.”
While there were big positives to the location in Brooklyn, Sugarlift decided to move to NoMad in part because the business was evolving and becoming increasingly focused on its website. “Our online platform has proven to be a great way to browse, read, learn about our artists and their artwork and get access to everything we offer,” Harvey noted. “We found that most of our new collectors were hearing about us online, through our website and social media. So for our NoMad move, it made sense to move away from the brick and mortar gallery model and towards a new, more flexible gallery model built around the same mission.”
NoMad turned out to be the perfect fit. Because Sugarlift didn’t need a permanent exhibition space any longer, it moved to the WeWork offices at 79 Madison Avenue. “[The new location] is like being in a beehive of transitive energy that rubs off on us, being around all these entrepreneurs. With NoMad’s central location in Manhattan, we’re able to go anywhere and connect with artist communities all over New York. The quality of life in the neighborhood is a huge draw. It’s not a hard sell to get people to come to the neighborhood. Plus, the food options are incredible.”
As for the events and exhibitions that used to take place in the Brooklyn location, Sugarlift is thinking creatively about how to use New York City itself as a space where artists and audiences meaningfully connect. For instance, last weekend it organized a meet up at the Highline for nearly 200 partnering artists and anyone who wanted to come and draw alongside them. Sugarlift is also planning a drink-and-draw event at the new offices in August.
“Seeing as we’re continuing to develop our online platform and the tech component is growing,” Harvey told us, “the technology and entrepreneurial community of NoMad was definitely a draw.”
We are so excited that NoMad will be the staging ground for the continued growth of this innovative gallery. Welcome!