Erin Nathanson has been dedicated to the arts in Charleston for over a decade. She has served as the gallery coordinator for The City Gallery at Waterfront Park, is a founding member and artistic director of Charleston Supported Art, and now has opened The Southern Gallery alongside her husband Justin Nathanson. The Southern Gallery has only been open a few months, but has already become a landmark for the contemporary art scene in Charleston. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the gorgeous new space, head to The Southern Saturday night to see their newest show “Kelly Lu’s War,” from 7-10. We sat down with Erin for this week’s Friday Fiver.
Reflecting on your newly renovated gallery, what has been the number 1 benefit of designing your own space?
A huge benefit of designing The Southern ourselves was having control over functional features like our reinforced walls and adding some surprise with neon and wallpaper in the bathrooms. 2 Carlson has allowed us to show our aesthetic without architectural restrictions.
You showcase and represent artists only for the length of their exhibits. How does this benefit the artists?
This is somewhat true. We are taking our time to build a roster for The Southern in a number of ways – producing exhibitions and consigning works on paper and objects for 3-6 month periods. For some artists, working with one gallery feels constricting, but for others it’s like “Jesus, take the wheel”. We like to work with artists on all ends of that spectrum. This benefits the artist at the end of the day because we are understanding of their needs and goals for their career.
3. At your last opening, the DJ played mostly hip-hop music. What can we expect to hear at “Kelly Lu’s War” on Saturday and how do you decide what music to play?
Saturday night’s opening will have a playlist curated by our girls Camela Guevara and Dalia Dalili of Gemsounds. Girl power is definitely the theme of the evening. We usually select the music based on the artist’s vibe. This is why our last DJ was from a North Charleston strip club, and it was fun.
4. The outfits you wear to the gallery are so cool and professional at the same time. Who is your fashion inspiration?
I have no idea. Thankfully, I have very fashionable friends, like Sarah Frierson, so I usually ask her if something is cool or not.
5. If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston, what would you like to see happen?
The impractical side of me would love to see all the stray cats come together and parade up King Street because that would be pretty magical.