Gaspard Gallery

Gaspard is a contemporary art gallery on the S. Division Avenue for the Arts in Grand Rapids, MI.

What's the big idea?

Gaspard is an artist operated gallery focused on providing a contemporary exhibition space for both artists and art collectors. The clean interior of the gallery allows the conceptual and aesthetic elements of the art to be readily experienced, serving the contemporary artist well. Additionally, all work is for sale, inviting not just the art viewer, but also collector into the space. This further encourages the contemporary, fine artist with an opportunity to both exhibit and sell art.

Describe the nearest player in your field.

LaFontsee gallery and The Richard App Gallery are both Grand Rapids art galleries focused on maintaining a large inventory and with a emphasis on decorative and commercial art.

The GRAM and UICA offer contemporary exhibitions, but within a museum model, these are not concerned with selling artwork.

How are you different from that player?

Looking specifically at Grand Rapids, contemporary art galleries are hard to find: art collectors have few options when seeking to purchase contemporary art, and many artists have even fewer options for places to exhibit their work in a focused environment.

How's the world different with your idea in it?

Many art collectors and buyers overlook Grand Rapids when seeking to purchase work and travel to Chicago instead. For GR to contribute to the national art market it must have informed galleries that exhibit contemporary art market trends, expressions, and even nationally recognized artists.

How does this idea scale into a big business?

Looking at the national art market and other contemporary galleries it is clear that selling artwork can be a profitable and sustainable business. As Gaspard grows we hope to draw collectors and buyers to the city and begin to create an economy of art within Grand Rapids.

Why are you the one to run with this idea?

With educations in art as well as experience in exhibiting artwork and contributing to the local art culture in Grand Rapids we are aware of the need for artists to be able to show work locally in GR in order to encourage and stimulate any kind of prosperous and respected art community.

What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?

The $5K will allow the gallery to develop in several ways. It will cover necessary gallery modifications, installation costs, printing needs, and shipping/insurance of work. The investment will allow the gallery to move beyond merely a local art gallery and exist within the national art market.

There have been 14 replies to this page

  1. Kathy Schreiber

    Supporting up and coming artists in Grand Rapids, Leah’s friend Chris Cox.

  2. Neil Braybrook

    Need a VR tour of the Gallery? :)

  3. Joe Sonheim

    I went to the John Hanson show last night. Gaspard has a cool location, a cool atmosphere and curators with some cool dreams.

  4. John Hanson

    Can’t express how impressed I am with these gentlemen’s passion and devotion to this Gallery. They stand to be a beacon of light on division ave, which desperately needs more upstanding businesses and gathering points to celebrate culture and the arts. This Gallery is of utmost importance to the Grand Rapids community and to the greater national arts culture.

  5. Amber Cox

    Grand Rapids needs venues like GASPARD Gallery and the young artists who run it. Clean, contemporary, versatile, and located on up-and-coming S. Division Ave. Chris Cox, Ben Biondo and Jacob Bullard are making good things happen.

  6. Nichole Smith


    Wondering how your model scales into ‘big business’... while a gallery can be a profitable and sustainable business, how does your model fit with a venture capital investment where the VCs can make an exit and ideally turn a profit?

  7. Chris Cox


    The selling of artwork can yield significant profits. Although this gallery is still in its early stages , there is potential for much growth. If we were to exhibit art that is recognized on the national scale, profits would be more substantial, and over time the VCs could see a viable exit. Looking at particular galleries in cities like New York or Los Angeles you could see how an initial invested could result in large profit over time. Currently Grand Rapids at large doesn’t have much interest in the buying and selling of contemporary art, we are hoping to change this perspective and continue to encourage Grand Rapids to become a recognized art center in the midwest.

  8. Nichole Smith


    Great feedback. So when referencing nearest players in your field… they’d be these galleries in NYC and LA yes? Rather than UICA and the other smaller galleries here in GR. Do you have specific examples you can give? Are these the business models you are hoping to mirror or use as a template?

  9. Chris Cox


    Nichole, the nearest players in the field was a difficult question answer. We listed spaces in Grand Rapids as we see the location of the gallery to be important, and wanted to make note of how our gallery space differs from others in GR. But yes we would be modeling our gallery after spaces seen in larger cities. Blue chip galleries like Gagosian or Pace are going to be seeing the large profits that I mentioned, other smaller galleries such a Team Gallery in New York ( operate in a similar manner as we are. Although we recognize that these galleries have a profitable model, we must operate our gallery with the acknowledgment that we are in Grand Rapids, not New York, and must therefore act accordingly, and differ and vary the model as appropriate.

  10. Nichole Smith


    On that note, does that Grand Rapids appropriate model also fit the Venture Capital model?

  11. Chris Cox


    Our hope is that it does. Grand Rapids has a burgeoning art scene. With the introduction of events like Artprize we are seeing art coming more into the public concise. But for a city to have a strong and sustanable art culture, it must also have an “economy of art”. We believe that art needs to be bought and sold in Grand Rapids to truly generate a sincere and long term art culture and economy. I would love to see a day when there are a multitude of contemporary galleries in the city, all doing well and selling work.

  12. Chris Cox


    We see our gallery fitting into the venture capital model just as any other “product” that has received endorsement does. Art is a product, just like an iPhone app, consumer product, or cup of coffee. The company (or gallery) must be able to market and convince the public that they need this product. We are confident that our team has the skills to be able to successfully market and sell art in Grand Rapids.

  13. Leighton Cusack

    This must be planted in the garden.

  14. Leah Schreiber


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This idea was funded by public endorsement on December 20, 2012.