Fronteer Gallery is a contemporary art space in Castlegate, an area of Sheffield gradually becoming the steel city’s equivalent of Manchester’s Northern Quarter as more independent venues open up. Fronteer's current creative neighbours include Yorkshire Artspace's Exchange Place Studios, and music venues Delicious Clam, Plot 22 and Bal Fashions.
In a former Greggs on Exchange Street, Fronteer is run by artists Sharon and Michael Borkowsky. The couple have been organising group shows since 2017. Following the demise of much-loved Gallery 35 on Chapel Walk last year, they decided to open their own gallery, recognising the importance of a gallery that is able to cater for the broad sweep of artists and makers in Sheffield and beyond. The time they'd spent as itinerant curators served to form their admirable DIY attitude and a determination to include everyone – from recent graduates to established professionals.
Opportunities to exhibit can be hard to find and Sharon and Michael are acutely aware of the value a gallery can bring to an area and how much it means to people. For visitors, Fronteer provides a chance to view and buy original artwork in an extremely welcoming environment. For artists, it represents a wonderful showcase to display and sell work, as well as meet like-minded people and feel part of a community.
The Fronteer programme is a combination of exhibitions by individuals or groups who have hired the space, and themed open calls in which Sharon and Michael indulge their passion for curating engaging and thought-provoking shows. Submission to the open calls is free, participants only paying if their work is selected for exhibition – a fair model, acknowledging the financial difficulties many artists face. They have also recently opened a smaller space beneath the gallery, ideal for workshops or meetings. Exhibitions usually last for around two weeks, so regular visitors are guaranteed to always seeing something new, and the quality of the shows has undoubtedly risen as their reputation increases.
Drop in for a visit to Fronteer Gallery – I doubt you will meet two people more approachable than Sharon and Michael, and you get to see great contemporary art into the bargain.
- Words by
- Sean Williams