We need companions on our journey...
The ONCA Gallery began as an empty shop, and now eighteen months later it is a busy and vibrant contemporary arts venue in Brighton. In the heart of the city, ONCA is a place to learn about, engage with, and help safeguard the living world, through exhibitions, workshops, film nights, creative writing, storytelling, parades, puppet shows and more.
We are the only inner-city gallery for combined arts and ecology and we act as a hub, bringing the wild into the city, to new people, different people and brilliant people.
Since our launch in 2012, ONCA has hosted over ten exhibitions. We are constantly expanding our network and forging new links with universities, businesses, cultural facilities and conservation groups. Our patrons are Brighton's Green MP Caroline Lucas, artist Chris Drury, writer Robert MacFarlane and illustrator John Vernon Lord.
We have worked with Ghosts of Gone Birds, Cape Farewell, The Marine Conservation Society, Plymouth University, Brighton University, the Sussex Wildlife Trust, BBC Earth Unplugged, many local schools, and the Uummannaq Children's Home in Greenland, among other amazing organisations.
Our team of volunteers, artists, scientists and performers work tirelessly, giving their time to make ONCA the vibrant and inviting place that it is today.
But we need your help to keep this dynamic space open and evolving.
- Together we can explore the role of the arts in our changing world.
- Together we can learn, educate and inspire, stirring both creative thought and positive action.
- Together we can provide high quality, powerful and exciting exhibitions, and we can support conservation projects around the globe.
We need support to keep our doors open. Help us to produce a new model for an environmental, inner-city art gallery, and we will bring you an exciting programme of summer exhibitions - and work towards becoming a permanent fixture in Brighton and the UK.
Over the next six months...
- We will deliver packed programmes of exhibitions and events that offer new and exciting opportunities.
- We will work with frontline conservation groups, developing this interaction between art and ecology that we are only just beginning to see the possibilities of.
- We will form a network for artists, scientists, innovators, conservationists and everyone in between.
- We will bring communities together, inspiring hope and a much needed belief in change.
The ONCA Trust and Gallery was established in 2012, a registered charity that links art with ecological projects. We rely on funding, donations, collaborations, partnerships, and our fantastic, incredible and dedicated team of volunteers.
“I’m very proud that Brighton is home to ONCA – a unique and inspiring gallery that acts both as a showcase for our relationship with the natural world, and as a spur to protecting and enhancing it.”
- Caroline Lucas, ONCA patron
“ONCA is an inspiring organisation: passionate, energetic and agile. It brings together communities and creativity in open-hearted and mind-altering ways. The great American essayist and agrarianist, Wendell Berry, reminds us that technological fixes for global problems will only get us part of the way; cultural change is, eventually, far more powerful and far-reaching. But cultural change is also, of course, mysterious in its origins and unpredictable in its outcomes. Organisations such as ONCA help to stimulate and shape such change for the good.”
- Robert Macfarlane, ONCA patron
Our Director, Laura Coleman, had the idea for ONCA because of her friendship with an incredible rescued puma, called Wayra, who lives at Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi in Bolivia.
"Once upon a time, in the far away jungles of Bolivia, lived a puma. She moved as swiftly as the wind through the forests of her home.
Once upon a time there was a girl, who went on a journey to find what she was looking for and discovered, in one leafy jungle far away, a puma. The puma was much faster than her, and much more wild. But over time they began to trust one another. They became friends.
But the jungle was changing. It rained and flooded. It was hot, turned dry and burnt. The trees were cut down… jungles made ever smaller by giants neither the girl nor puma could understand. The girl shouted and cried, but her voice was so very tiny. One day, with huge sadness in her heart, the girl knew she had to say goodbye. She had to go back, to the land of the giants. And along the way she saw many things. Pieces of plastic floating in blue oceans, snowy islands where polar bear footprints melted into warm seas, and birds fading into nothingness.
As she travelled she met new friends, artists, storytellers, musicians, poets, sculptors and other adventurers. Together they created a place, a laboratory, a gallery, a sanctuary, a senate, and a possibility. They filled it with paintings of what they had seen, stories and songs of the creatures they had met, and sculptures of incredible insects and towering trees. Then they invited their friends, and their friends’ friends, to join in this celebration and preservation of the wild."
- Abbie Palache, ONCA Resident Storyteller
- Our summer programme of exhibitions and events themed around home and habitat.
- Core costs, enabling us to keep our doors open, whilst also giving us the breathing room to grow. These costs cover rent, utilities, business rates, insurance and the core salary of our gallery manager.
- The development of our network, an online resource and tool for professional development, providing artists and collaborators with opportunities to learn, engage and connect.
100: An open submission exhibition for visual artists working in all mediums. The brief is simple, represent a tree in any way you choose. There is one restriction – the dimensions must fit within 20cm cubed. For each artwork a tree will be planted in a local conservation area, creating an artistic forest within the gallery and a real forest outside. In time this forest will become a space for workshops and performances, building on this opportunity for new and established artists and nurturing talent for future generations.
Exile: Can we enter a forest through animal eyes? Can we value a woodland through paws, claws, furs and feathers? From a wild perspective, what does flooding and burning, felling and falling mean? An open call to visual artists, poets and performers, this exhibition is an opportunity to become animal and reconceive our changing woodland habitats.
Our goal is £15,000. If we receive more, we will be more secure, more impactful, and we will have a greater chance of success. Given the chance, we will keep on bringing you exhibitions that not only offer amazing opportunities for artists and the local community, but also make a positive impact on our natural environment. We will expand these exhibitions, offering opportunities to collaborators on a much greater scale. We will widen our programmes, growing our hub to bring in more projects and collaborations, more artists, scientists and explorers, more paintings, performances and stories…
- With an extra £1,000 - £5,000, we will focus on our network, aiming to widen it by over 5000 contributors within a six-month period.
- With £5,000 - £15,000 more, we will develop our 2015 theme, cementing artists, projects and partnerships that focus on 'Inside Ourselves – Ingesting, absorbing and all consuming: a programme of exhibitions exploring the food we eat, the products we use and the environments we live in'.
- With an extra £15,000 plus, this amount of support would ensure we were able to continue The ONCA Gallery at 14 St George’s Place, Brighton until at least 2015. If we were granted this opportunity, we would seize it by employing a larger team, including a part-time fundraiser and outreach officer. We would stretch our limbs, concentrating not just on our roots but also on our branches, making them thick, lush and as wide reaching as possible.
Risks and challenges
What are the risks of supporting ONCA?
1) This is a new, unique venture and no one knows exactly what’s going to happen…
2) Our team may choose an exhibition theme you don’t like. Maybe you would prefer a show about cats rather than dogs, biodiversity rather than pollution, fungus over ferns. This is why we are always open to ideas, and if you don’t like what we propose, just let us know. And maybe we’ll try your exhibition idea next time!
3) We may choose art that isn’t to your taste. But we always bring in experienced guest curators for our shows, and have a team of artistic advisors on board to help us make the right decisions.
4) We may not receive enough submissions for our scheduled shows over the summer. However, ‘100’ has already launched and we’ve received so many fantastic responses already. We aren’t worried!
5) ONCA may grow and grow and grow until it takes over the world, one environmentally conscious gallery at a time. Beware!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)