A new gallery, showcasing the works of more than 20 North Okanagan artists, has opened its doors in Lumby.
The Village Gallery is run by the newly-formed Lumby Arts Co-op, with a mandate to give area artists an outlet to sell their work locally.
The North Okanagan, and the Lumby/Cherryville area in particular, has long supported a strong and vibrant arts community which has been nurtured in part by the Monashee Arts Council, said co-op chair Robin Ledrew.
“Under the wing of the council, artists in the region began envisioning ways to capitalize on the strong tourism industry in the area. A gallery was seen as a resource that would collaborate with other tourist-based businesses in the area and support reciprocal community development,” she said.
A number of public meetings in the fall of 2012 resulted in the decision of 13 local artists to form the co-op. In January, the group began renting and renovating a space in the heritage building on Highway 6 in Lumby. The incorporation was completed in March and the gallery opened for business March 20, with an official ribbon cutting ceremony held in June.
“Our goal is to promote the economic development of local artist and artisans in the area,” said Ledrew. “The gallery became the first project of the co-op because there was an immediate need to have an outlet for the wide range of arts created locally. What has emerged is a strong and dedicated group of artists with a passion to make this gallery work.”
A wide and complementary skill set has allowed the co-op to adapt to the many challenges involved in growing a new business.
“The collaborative effort has been amazing,” said Dennis Schafer, one of the co-op artists. “We are successfully teaching each other the skills we need to operate this business including bookkeeping, inventory control, quality control, promotion, sales procedures and display techniques. When a new challenge is presented, there is inevitably someone in the group who has the solution.”
The gallery, which is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. over the summer, displays work in a variety of media including paint, pottery, jewelry, ceramics, wood, leather and fabric.
This month’s feature artist is Suzan Purdy from Blue Mountain Tannery.
Purdy utilizes eco-friendly traditional tanning techniques to create a wide range of products including drums, clothing, accessories, jewelry and crystal wands.
The co-op operates entirely on the volunteer efforts of its members and is open to new membership. Anyone interested in becoming a member, or placing items on consignment, is encouraged to visit the gallery, located at 1961 Vernon St., or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.