Have you ever thought of going to one of the art galleries in town but wondered if you would be welcome or you would feel comfortable there? I made visits to the four local galleries in town this week – Robert Lyons Graphics, the Owens Art Gallery, Struts Gallery and Faucets Media Arts Centre, and Fog Forest Gallery – and the answer to both of these questions, at all four galleries, was a resounding yes.
When I moved to town a little over 10 years ago, I didn’t really know anything about the galleries. My initial impression was that Struts was too cool, and the Owens too formal for me. At that time Rob Lyon’s Gallery was mostly his office and studio, and since I wasn’t planning to buy any art, I also didn’t think that Fog Forest was for me either. Over the years, for different reasons, I ended up visiting all four galleries several times. But even the first time I visited each one, I was really impressed with how friendly and open the people are who work in them, and also how interesting the exhibits and other materials were at the galleries.
Sackville is so fortunate to have such a large contingent of artists and galleries for a town of this size.
Janet Crawford, who owns Fog Forest, told me recently (I hope I am not embarrassing her), that she frequently hears from visitors to her place that this is the sort of gallery they would expect to see in a large city like New York, and are amazed that it’s here in Sackville. But Janet also mentioned to me that she’s very pleased to have people come in who just want to have a look, and aren’t planning to buy anything. Of course as a businesswoman she hopes that people will eventually buy something, but she sees education as an important part of her work as well, plus she’s super friendly and always delightful to chat with (as is Jocelyn Pringle, who also works in the gallery). Lest we think that everything in there is also beyond our budget, when I was in the other day there were several very nice pieces starting as low as $35.
Rob Lyon is also a very nice guy, and his (relatively) new space at 12 Weldon is super interesting. In addition to a whole lot of great artwork, t-shirts and other artistic things for sale at very reasonable prices, Rob also has some really interesting artifacts, including a very large model ship, a fascinating wasps nest, and other curios.
Struts Gallery does still seem cool to me – but when I go there, I feel that a little bit of the coolness rubs off on me. As I mentioned, the staff are really nice (Amanda and Elli are the regulars) and the exhibits are always interesting and often have themes that would appeal to many people. When I visited this week there was a very fun exhibit by Madison Bragg: There's Something About Cat, and in the START Gallery (the student gallery) in the back a very moving exhibit by Chelsea Poole called Remember Me about a daughter remembering her mother and her fight with cancer.
Finally, the Owens has several interesting exhibitions on now, including two by Dan Vogel – Siftor and My Name is Owen. Siftor is especially interesting, and several of my friends who have children said they really enjoyed this interactive computer exhibit.
The Owens also has regular Family Sundays events, open to all, and Struts and Faucet have all kinds of events and activities for families and people of all ages. All four spaces are also constantly changing their exhibits, so make sure to check them out often.
This ends my brief local gallery tour. Soon I will be writing about local cafes, and I would like to include some “overheard in cafes” notes, like this one I heard recently from someone studying in England who was here on a break: “I’m missing a Sackville vibe and energy I haven’t found there.”
Please send me some if you have them at email@example.com. Also I’m still interested in any other places (your favourite local tourist spots) you would like to recommend.