An artist who paints, sculpts, or sketches with inspirational mastery is not necessarily confident boasting and discussing her art practice and production. But that’s where MK Apothecary, a platform curating artists’ work in Collingswood, NJ, comes in — reaching out in all directions to connect artists with art buyers. Read on to learn how the artists who run MK Apothecary provide a platform to showcase their artists’ new work and for buyers to find original artworks for their private and public collections.
Building an Art Home in New Jersey
The co-founding directors of MK Apothecary, Michael Aguirre and Kristine Go, began their life partnership in the 1990s while attending the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. In the two decades following their art debuts in San Francisco, this dynamic art duo moved frequently, building their individual careers in the art + design world.
Then, Michael and Kristine found a dream location to situate their vibrant art practices and set up a public-facing gallery business. That gallery, MK Apothecary, occupies a one-hundred-year-old pharmacy in the charming town of Collingswood, NJ. Michael and Kristine live above the space.
MK Apothecary opened not long before Covid closed the doors of any place where the public might meet. When pandemic restrictions made group gatherings impossible, Michael and Kristine had already collected an impressive cadre of contracted exhibiting artists who required their representation in order to facilitate the sales that pay bills and fund lives. In the fashion of creative problem-solving that they are known for, Michael and Kristine turned their gallery into a window exhibition space. The window display provided a welcome sight to passersby and a continuation of the exposure that they had promised their artists.
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Connecting Artists Near + Far
Today, MK Apothecary is successfully connecting artists from all over New Jersey and nearby states with art buyers by exhibiting the work of the artists they represent at art fairs, online, and in gallery settings. That success is due, in large part, to Kristine’s charismatic approach to building relationships. Kristine’s decades of work as a designer in the fashion industry helps her to comfortably move at the speed of business. Whether communicating with corporate buyers looking to purchase art for their facilities or private collectors, she relishes in discovering the needs and wants of the purchaser and working at their (often) fast pace.
Kristine’s dual comfort with those who wish to commission an artwork or purchase something by one of the MK Apothecary artists and with the artists themselves makes her a sought-after representative.
“It is a pleasure and an honor to work with them both” she insists. That skillful confidence prompted MK Apothecary artist Justin Schachtman to dub her “translator for the artists.”
One of Kristine’s productive acts of translation between artists and art investors transformed the front windows of Giant Heirloom Market in Center City Philadelphia, PA into an art installation and led to the release of a series of grocery bags with original artworks by MK Apothecary curated artists.
In her ongoing quest to successfully join artists and art buyers, Kristine recently began a Masters in Business Arts program at Rutgers that she will complete in 2024. The degree program has already opened up new opportunities for her artists as she has grown her skills repertoire.
To help grow the gallery and expand the reach of the artists MK Apothecary represents, Kristine has joined the Association of Women Art Dealers. Kristine and Michael describe their approach to both their leadership at MK Apothecary and their choices regarding which artists to represent as hinged by a commitment to evolve. The artists they work with are dynamic like they are, eager to grow, learn, and connect.
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Art Events — Everywhere
Kristine and Michael founded MK Apothecary with the belief that creative expression can bring communities together and foster innovation. That focus on community has resulted in numerous events in their gallery space along with participation in major contemporary art events throughout the region.
Their desire to stimulate connections between artists and the broader community led to gallery events in Collingswood that they have titled Art is Social. These free, festive large group gatherings happen monthly with professional artists elbow-to-elbow at long tables with anyone wishing for a few hours of creative expression.
MK Apothecary’s participation in major art events keeps expanding throughout and beyond the region, bringing their artists as far as Art Basel Miami. This May, Kristine curated a special group show featuring work from past 14C artists in the Art 150 Gallery at Jersey City’s 150 Bay building during the spring Hudson Gives Art Crawl. The proceeds from the artworks sold during that show will support Jersey City’s very first Art Week event October 11th-15th of 2023. It is no surprise that MK Apothecary is part of the work in progress to help attract local, national, and international artists to Jersey City and to showcase Jersey City’s vibrant arts and culture scene.