St Marys Station Gallery
How it started for me
In 2018, I was part of St Marys Stonetown Arts group. At our year end meeting in June, Cameron Porteous, curator of the St Marys Station Gallery did a talk about the gallery. The gallery was open about 1.5 years by that point, and he was looking for people to help it grow. As Cameron went on with his wishlist, in my mind, I was checking off mental checkboxes of my skill set.
Cameron Porteous served as head of design at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, from 1980 to 1997. He moved with his wife to St Marys and upon seeing the train station, knew that it would make a perfect art gallery. I appreciate his vision of what could be.
I visited the Gallery and found it to be a beautiful venue. By the fall of 2018, I was using my digital background to recreate a new website. I also took the helm of the social marketing for the gallery.
Print design is equally distributed by both myself and Cameron. Sometimes he has a specific vision for a poster, and other times I am given the opportunity to bring in my own ideas.
With the isolation of Covid, I was asked if I could create a virtual gallery for our shows. That was May of 2020 and our virtual galleries for us were born. The galleries where such a hit of drawing people to our website, that as Covid restrictions eased, we continued to create an online gallery to go with our in house show. I am very proud that we were one of the early adapters of the online concept. As a digital designer dating back to the early 1990s, I was glad to use that skillset.
Unique shows in a small community
We have 7 shows a year and have local and regional artists. My love for the gallery has come from my working with Cameron and helping other artists mount their shows. I have made so many friends who are also artists through the years. I have told Cameron that I appreciate his vision and will be with him at the gallery until he decides to retire. That is an open door at this time and I am very happy to continue to support him.
We have become a very good team with mutual respect and the love for art of many kinds, not only of fine art but also of the theatre. His stories of working at Shaw, in Vancouver and represtenting Canada in Prague and other parts in Europe are always entertaining. A wonderful story teller that has helped me grow as an artist and curator in waiting.
Since November 2018, I have been the Curator’s Assistant and help our Curator, Cameron Porteous install and promote shows. Located at the VIA train station which is a part of the old Grand Trunk Railroad.
WIth having a background in fundraising, I was able to attain sponsors from local businesses that contribute to about a third of our operational budget. We do get a generous grant from the city and the rest of our monies come from art sales and donations. It is so heartwarming to be so supported by the St Marys community.
Mixing two of my interests
I have focused on my fine art in my home based studio for the last 20 years. I continue to experiment and play with different mediums and references. I also am a digital designer since 1991. The gallery lets me incorporate both sides of my creativity. The people I meet along the way and working with Cameron is the icing on top of the cake.