The word CUSP is derived from two different aspects: the first 2 letters of the first and last name of artist and owner Curtis Speer and the second referring to an “emerging” artist. The word emerging always felt like a struggle, but CUSP has the power to denote the artist has done the work and is ready to take that leap of faith.
The MISSION of CUSP GALLERY is to give artists a space and an opportunity to exhibit their work. Twice a year, CUSP has opened the doors to vetted artists to give them that opportunity. To earn that spot in the gallery, the artist must prove that they are willing to hustle to excel and the gallery will help guide them through the process of putting together a show. With that said, that hustle includes knowing how they want their work displayed (framing, lighting, etc.), planning the layout of the gallery, hanging their work, promoting the exhibit, planning an opening reception and all the other aspects of exhibiting, all while being coached.
The gallery came to fruition by chance. In January 2017, Speer planned a four month stay in Provincetown, MA to photograph the light as a vehicle to shift his work in a new direction. By February, Speer was presented with an offer to take up space to open his own gallery. A permanent move to Provincetown was not on the radar. After meeting with the property owner, Speer agreed to lease one room in the space despite much adversity from others about the ability to open yet another gallery in town. The lease was signed and the work began with ripping up carpet, hand scraping floors, painting, installing new lighting which led to a complete overhaul of the space.
Simultaneously, he was working feverishly to sell his fine art photographs to fund the project. After 10 weeks of hard work, the doors of CUSP gallery opened to the public at 115 Bradford St, Provincetown, MA, the first weekend of May 2017 with only $27 left in his pocket.
CUSP opened with an exhibition titled, “It Was Hopper All Along” which was inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper. This body of work was a series of Cape Cod lighthouses to resonate with members of the community that knew nothing about his work. The decision would prove to be wrong to many that declined to show his work and stated if he ever “tried to sell a photo of a lighthouse in this town”, he would fail. The show was a huge success that nearly sold-out on the opening day, along with eight other shows that same year. That said, the seasonality of Provincetown caused hesitation to expand the gallery space. Being told that “you only have 12 weeks out of the year to make your living”, CUSP created the catch phrase, “Art Has No Season”, yet again, to break the rules. Creating an overwhelming online presence with nearly 121,000 followers between social media and website engagement, Speer was able to open the gallery doors from 12 weeks to 12 months.
As the gallery evolved past the first year, CUSP held several themed group exhibits that pulled in artists from across the United States. This allowed the gallery to expand its offerings to all mediums of art including long term exhibits of salt glazed ceramic sculptures. Fast forward to CUSP GALLERY in its fifth year, we continued to shift our creative focus to provocative visual art bringing life to the corner of Bradford and Ryder St by way of themed window installations during the off-season on the Cape. Developing a new partnership with a large scale metal artist, CUSP continued to expand its mission by incorporating yard installations as a means to create more public art in Provincetown.
Moving into year six of CUSP gallery, the evolution and possibilities are yet to be fully discovered but the work is underway…
UPDATE: CUSP GALLERY & LIFESTYLE OPENS APRIL 28, 2023. NEWPORT, RI