Bay Backner brings together eleven independent galleries for Art Walk Valencia

Bay conceived and created Art Walk Valencia as a new initiative to support independent art spaces in her city. Eleven galleries and art venues opened simultaneously on Sunday 18 April from 11.00am – 14.00pm, with a map and information published on artwalkvlc.com

Art Walk was a resounding success, with some spaces welcoming more than 300 visitors safely over the three hour event. Valencia’s A Punt TV News programme reported from Art Walk and interviewed Bay about the aims of the initiative. Bay also gave a radio interview for Podríem Fer-ho Millo alongside SET Espai D’Art gallery director Reyes Martinez.

Bay and the A Punt TV film crew during Art Walk – photo: Sandi Goodwin

Art Walk was free and open to all, with “Art Walkers” to take part in groups of four or less in line with current covid restrictions. There was no set route between the eleven venues, but the furthest galleries, La Trini in La Zaidía and Lanevera in Russafa, are just a 30 minute walk apart. 

The idea for Art Walk came out of Bay’s conversation with Kristin Gracie, founder of Russafa’s The RW Project, about how to safely open their current art exhibition “Eve” to visitors.  

Eve in The RW Project space

“Covid has challenged artists to become more creative about sharing our work. It’s been a year now without normal gallery inaugurations or artist talks in independent spaces,” explains Bay.

“Before Covid I organised a Meetup group of 1,000 art-goers in Valencia. Since lockdown, many have asked me how they can continue to support Valencia’s artists,” she continues.

“Art Walk makes it easy to visit some of our city’s most exciting art spaces. In English these are called “grassroots” arts spaces because they encourage emerging artists. If we can help them to grow their audience, we all benefit from a thriving art scene.”

Bay and other Art Walkers in La Trini Gallery – photo: Sandi Goodwin

The Jan Royce Gallery in El Carmen was the first gallery to agree to open on Sunday for Art Walk. Director Cornelis Moonen explains,

“Art Walk is a wonderful initiative. It underlines how Valencia’s art galleries and artists continue to work together to present new contemporary art, in spite of this challenging year.” 

“By walking on a Sunday morning, we also support our neighbourhood’s restaurants and bars. I hope that many art-lovers find inspiration in the diversity of the art being presented, and enjoy (re-)discovering their vibrant, artistic city.” 

Reyes Martinez, director of gallery SET Espai D’Art adds, 

“We are participating in Art Walk because we support any initiative that brings art closer to the public, that normalises visiting galleries and exhibitions, and that recognises the work that galleries do in supporting and representing artists.” 

A Punt TV News film in SET Espai D’Art during Art Walk