AGOG: One Year + Ten … and Counting

July 2008 AGOG opening at 516 9th Ave. N.

As Executive & Artistic Director for KHC, I’m proud to note this summer marks the 10th anniversary of the Art Gallery of Golden in it’s current location. But, we are actually 11 years old. The gallery first opened down the street in 2007. With the support of the community and so many volunteers and supporters and customers(!) we’re One Year + Ten … and counting!

Back in 2006 Kicking Horse Culture started to meet with a group of established artists in the community — including Lee Bedford, Jane Doel, Bill Pitcher, Thelma Brown, Nelli Tobler, David Low, Joyce Priest, Mike McPhee — to plan for the possibility of realizing a long held community dream — creating a dedicated art gallery. When Bacchus Books announced their move to its current location, all of us rushed over to 506 B 9th St. N. to imagine the possibilities! Carpe Diem was the consensus and KHC made an offer for a lease … and the deed was done.

With a lot of volunteer effort — much carpentry by David Low! — we opened our doors in the new space in February 2007 with an exhibit by Cheryl Bartram called somewhat appropriately “We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby?”

Opening night Feb. 2007 at 506A 9th Ave. N. David Low, Bill Usher with KHC Board and supporters.

The space was only big enough for an exhibit in the main space with a small reception/working area for Office Manager Thelma Brown and an office in the back for myself and anything else we needed to store! In the next year we hosted a few very cool exhibits including our own Adventurers & Settlers. Here are some snapshots from that historic opening reception in summer of 2007.

Syd Feuz and Joyce Fisher

Thelma Barlow and Gord Barlow

Orm Braisher

Sam Palumbo

Barb Blysak and Ed Blysak (Grace McKeeman)

Ken Piggot and Rena Piggot

Unfortunately, with exhibit sales as our only source of income, we couldn’t sell enough art off the walls to pay the gallery’s share of the rent. We needed to find a new business model, one where we could sell the work of dozens of artists every day while also having enough space to host solo and group exhibits throughout the year. The answer was just down the street…

The old butcher shop, flower shop, gift store…

… at 516 9th Ave. N.

 

 

 

 

… looking at the plans.

 

 

 

The old butcher-cum-flower-cum-gift shop at 516 9th Ave. N. had been sitting empty for a few months. We would walk down the street and take peeks through the dusty glass at the empty store space and dream of the possibilities. Finally we approached the new owner Bob Low with the possibility of turning this into KHC’s home and the new Art Gallery of Golden … and Bob said, “Yes!”

Holly Magoon opens the door.

After a few months of renovations designed by board member and architect Len Brown, we opened our doors in the summer of 2008. Nelli Tobler chose our paint colours for the gallery walls and craftsman Don Stenner created our gorgeous display units out of donated LP plywood. Canadian Timberframes donated two big slabs of fir for our sales counter.

That summer we reprised our Adventurers & Settlers exhibit and hosted a big opening reception and the group photo was taken outside the gallery… the signage was still to come! (see photo at top)

Don Stenner’s beautiful craftsmanship

Thelma Brown and Bill Usher cut the ribbon July 2008.

Thelma Barlow and Ethel Wenzoski

Jean Vaughan and Allen Vaughan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were able to raise funds to hire renowned muralist Michelle Loughery to come to Golden for the week and paint the Adventurers & Settlers mural featuring her portrait of the artist William Wenman and a depiction of his “Ladies of the Canyon” image circa 1918. ‘Billy’ was better known back then for his harness and leather shop (still standing on Park Drive as the bicycle shop.)

Bill Usher, Michelle Loughery, Thelma Brown

Michelle Loughery, Dale Thompson

2008 honours 1918

Niki Dusseault, Danica Dahlin, Jada Moss, Risa Moss, Tori Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the last ten years, AGOG has presented dozens of solo and group exhibits by local artists and has grown today to display and sell the creative artistry of 100 local and Columbia Basin artists and artisans for the benefit and enjoyment of more than 12,000 visitors each year. Along the way KHC has also created the landmark exhibits Columbia Wetlands Natural Inspiration,  The Bugaboos – A Celebration in Story & Image, and our much renowned exhibit GOLDEN – We Call This Home, poster art that is on permanent display in the Civic Centre and which is proudly displayed in local homes and businesses and purchased by tourists from around the world as a souvenir of their time spent in Golden.

Thanks to the efforts of so many people along the way, the dream of a dedicated art gallery in Golden is still alive… one year + ten … and counting.

 

Open 10:30am to 5:30pm seven days a week this summer! Come on in!