Sheila Brown and Clare Bloxam are always on the lookout for the “wow” factor.
It’s not an easy job to choose the six shows to be exhibited at Gallery in the Grove every year.
Brown and Bloxam volunteer as exhibition planners on a board of directors that works year-round to ensure established and emerging artists space on the walls of the two-room art gallery.
Most are local artists and some are from farther afield, like this year’s first exhibitor Anna P. Baker.
Baker was based out of London, earned a fine arts degree from Western University, and attended the Chicago Art Institute before working full time as an artist. Baker held exhibitions throughout North American and died in 1985, leaving behind a body of work that includes many lithographs and woodcut pieces in ink and oils.
“She worked in full colour most of the time and her work was very detailed, very intricate,” said Brown.
“Anna Baker had a sense of whimsy. There’s so much humour in what she did,” added Kirsty Kilner Holmes, the newly-elected chairperson of Gallery in the Grove.
When she died, Baker left her collection to close friend Beryl Hutchinson and Hutchinson’s daughters. One of the daughters, Lee, collaborated with her mother to produce a book about Baker’s work, highlighting her love of detail and animals.
Lee Hutchinson will discuss Baker’s work at the exhibition’s opening reception Jan. 18.
“We’re humbled to have the show. Anna was very gifted,” said Bloxam. “Beryl visited the gallery and was interested in having it here. The two friends were close and Beryl wants to remember and appreciate Anna’s work.”
In total, there will be 40 of Baker’s works on the walls and another 35 unframed. Many are for sale. The exhibition runs until Feb. 28.
Other exhibitions slated for 2015 include:
* Art Teachers of Lambton County: Those Who Inspire, March 8 – April 18
* High School Student Art Show, May 3 – May 30
* Ariel Lyons & Heidi Berger paintings, June 7 – June 27
* Janice Bonish, Cathy Earle, Sara Parsons and Sarah Cowling, New Faces, Sept. 13 – Oct. 24
* Gifts of the Season Cash & Carry Show, Nov. 8 – Dec. 12
Gallery in the Grove operates in the top floor of Faethorne House in Bright’s Grove. The county-owned building has a fascinating history and achieved notoriety in 1934 when beer baron John Labatt lived there and was kidnapped on his way to London.
A library branch is located on the main floor. In 1980, a group of volunteers established the non-profit art gallery on the upper floor.
Today, about 80 volunteers help staff the gallery and oversee its operations.
“We define ourselves with exhibitions, education and scholarships,” said Kilner Holmes.
New volunteers are always welcome and do not require previous art experience.
An Event ApART
The An Event ApART art show at Degroot’s Nurseries on Nov. 14-16 was a big success.
Some of the best artists in Ontario participated in the three-day show and sale, and one exhibit featured works by talented local high school students.
In total, more than $12,000 was raised in support of suicide prevention in the community.
The Arts Journal welcomes all ideas that reflect our community’s culture. Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.