“My dream of opening a gallery would be impossible in NYC.
Here in the Capital Region, there’s a feeling that people want to help each other. I didn’t see that in the city or Hoboken.”
Cassie Fiorenza grew up in the Albany area, worked in a major gallery in Manhattan and lived in Hoboken, NJ. She recently moved back to the Capital Region, to Saratoga Springs. Here she opened her first gallery space, in the town’s Arts District on Beekman Street. “If I can bring people to Beekman Street, it’ll be good for the other galleries, too.”
“Here, there’s a mindset of, ‘what’s good for me is good for everyone else.’”
Representing Women in Art
While working in galleries in New York City, Cassie felt that female artists were underrepresented. She observed that many male artists were repeatedly being featured in shows and galleries, while the same did not hold true for women.
As a response, Cassie curated an art show in Manhattan that exclusively featured women artists. The response was wonderful. This inspired her to start Collective 131, which originated as an online gallery.
Cassie began by featuring the works of her friends and close network, but the platform quickly grew to include the works of artists from all over the country. The goal was to develop a platform of affordable, original art created by women.
A Brick and Mortar Space in Saratoga Springs
After an overwhelming outpouring of support for the online gallery, Cassie’s next step was to find a physical space to promote the art and mission of Collective 131. Cassie and her husband were living in Hoboken and starting to outgrow it. They were ready for a change.
When the pandemic emerged, they found it was a perfect time to make the move to CapNY. They landed in Saratoga Springs. They loved the bustling downtown area, the vibrant art scene, the restaurants, and the fact that it is surrounded by mountains and lakes.
Cassie joined Palette as a coworking member and with the support of other strong female entrepreneurs, she found a gallery space on Beekman Street, part of the Beekman Street Arts District.
One Million Residents
There are one million residents across the 8-counties of CapNY. Cassie said if she was able to reach all one million of them, she would use her platform to promote the creativity of the female artists she works with. Her goal: make the art world a more inclusive place for female talent.
She feels the potential of this region is endless and hopes to expand her galleries to other places across CapNY.
Connect with Collective 131!
Written by: Gabby Fisher
Gabby is a serial entrepreneur living solo with her toy poodle, Mochi, in Schenectady. She also happens to be the Senior Producer on the CapNY branding initiative!