Gallery 5 Executive Director steps down after five amazing years

Posted by: brad – Jan 17, 2017


After five years, one of the lynchpins at Gallery 5 has stepped down to pursue any number of possible futures.

Nick Crider, a Virginia native, started working with G5 as a volunteer about six years ago. Within two weeks, he was working gigs more seriously and before long he took on the title as the nonprofit space’s booking agent after folks noticed his interest and asked him to get more involved.

“I came at this moment when Gallery5 needed someone to step up and it's not always something that we have money to pay people adequately,” he said about his early volunteering days. "I was already really interested in music and the arts.”

A long-time guitar player, Crider rose to the occasion and found himself slowing working his way up to an invaluable position within the Jackson Ward art gallery and venue. His love of music got him in the door, but his attention to detail and ability to stay calm is what got him paid.

“Nick has been, without a shadow of a doubt, the most important person to come in the Gallery in the last five years,” said Prabir Mehta, Gallery 5’s Board President. “He is able to get anything you want done done, properly. [He's] beyond valuable asset to everyone in the community. He will be missed.”

Those tasks ranged from paying bills to keep the lights on, to booking acts, to helping hang art for shows - as you can imagine, the task of Executive Director at a Gallery space like G5 is a complicated and diverse gig.

But between his musician background, as well as his time at VCU’s Sculpture program, he had the tools and know how to tackle the creative and sonic issues that occurred. But he also walked into the org with a mission in mind, something he had to reconcile with the gallery’s broader mission.

“I was really wanting to push toward contemporary art,” he said about his early days at G5. “That was something that I sort of grappled with going there, wanting it to be this white-wall gallery space and slowing accepting that there's all sorts of different people coming in and it’s not a contemporary art gallery. As I’ve come through it, I’m really happy it has so many different faces and surprised I [could] get away with doing so many different things.”

Crider, whose now on tour with his band Dumb Waiter (friends of the publication) had a number of moments that stuck out from his tenure. Almost booking Kaki King, actually booking and seeing Lightning Bolt, and getting thoroughly immersed in the local and touring music scene are all parts of the gig he looks back at fondly.

(some v old footage I shot from the Lightning Bolt show at G5)

“The one [show] that Gull and I curated, that was really cool. We put in a lot of work to make everything look pristine.” The summer 2015 show called ‘Drumbaby' involved submissions from around the country, with folks sending art in left and right. "I didn’t realize how much he was curating it in, and there was a handful of peope putting in time and energy into making the whole space an atmosphere.”

Check out video of Crider and others performing in the Drumbaby space below thanks to GoodDayRVA:

His jump into the art gallery world also introduced him to a much larger world of contemporary galleries. He found himself working with folks around the county.

“That was amazing and kind of where I was pushing for contemporary art,” he said. “I went up to new York and [was] putting way to much stress on myself to put the craziest thing I could in there, that was definitely a high point.”

Crider is currently on tour with Dumb Waiter, and he’s since hung up his title as G5’s Executive Director as of Jan 1, 2017, but he’s left the operation in the capable hands of folks like Mehta, Rihanna Youngpool (booking) and Dustin Timberlake (Program Director), among other longtime volunteers and bar staff.

As for Crider, he's jumping feet first into any number of outcomes - his music with Dumb Waiter, returning to visual art, or just seeing what'll happen next.

"... Maybe get a studio and work on my own work," he said about his future, laughing. "Or go get that job that keeps me engaged in the 9 to 5.”

Mehta said they were in no rush to replace Crider, there’d gone about a year between the departure of their last ED, fellow-G5 Founder Amanda Robinson, and Crider. And as an org, they know they have to adapt to the city and change along with it.

“It’s going to be an interesting transition, but we’ve done it before,” Mehta said. “When it happened with Amanda, we were worried that it wouldn’t be the same. But that’s what we need, as an arts organization; we need to keep changing with the community.”

Gallery 5 continues to offer some of the best art and music Richmond has to offer - and its organizers, as well as RVAMag and this writer all wish Crider the best of luck.

Words and top image by Brad Kutner