Bonnie Deslippe

Holiday Art at the Gallery ongoing through Dec. 11

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Gibson Gallery is ready for the Christmas holidays and wants to help the community get ready as well.

The gallery is hosting its annual “Holiday Art at the Gallery” and it runs through Dec. 11.

“It’s basically a smaller version of Art by the River,” explained Bonnie Deslippe, publicity director at the gallery. “We have it every year as a fundraiser for the gallery.”

Bev Williams, a volunteer at the Gibson Gallery, looks at some of the items available at "Holiday Art at the Gallery." The sale runs Thursday-Sunday through Dec. 11 at the gallery.

Bev Williams, a volunteer at the Gibson Gallery, looks at some of the items available at “Holiday Art at the Gallery.” The sale runs Thursday-Sunday through Dec. 11 at the gallery.

Deslippe explained they used to rent space to vendors but changed formats about five years ago to where vendors can now drop off items with a percentage going to both the gallery and the vendor if there are any sales. She added it allows more people to participate and also frees up space for people to shop.

“It freed up the vendors to go to other events,” said Deslippe.

Among the items available at this year’s Holiday Art at the Gallery are jewellery, woodworking, stuffed animals, books, Christmas decorations, knitting and crocheting and other forms of artwork. There was a bake sale last weekend with a raffle also available for those in attendance.

Pictured is just a sample of what is available at Holiday Art at the Gallery. The last show of the 2016 season for the Gibson Gallery runs through Dec. 11.

Pictured is just a sample of what is available at Holiday Art at the Gallery. The last show of the 2016 season for the Gibson Gallery runs through Dec. 11.

Acknowledging “it’s not on the scale of Art by the River,” Deslippe said it is a smaller version which allows the Gibson Gallery to raise funds to support itself. It is the final show on the gallery’s 2016 calendar before closing for the winter.

“It’s a way you can support local artists and crafters and get some really great gifts,” said Deslippe.

Deslippe estimated there are over 40 vendors that are participating in this year’s Holiday Art at the Gallery.

“We always get a lot of positive feedback,” she said.

The Gibson Gallery’s current hours are Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Their phone number is 519-736-2826, the website is www.gibsonartgallery.com and they are on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Art by the River celebrates 50th year

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Organizers and vendors at Art by the River reported good crowds and positive feedback during last weekend’s event… when it was dry, that is.

Thunderstorms cut both days of the 50th annual event short but when it was sunny and hot during earlier portions of Saturday and Sunday, things still went well. The annual event is presented by the Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts, the body that runs the Gibson Gallery.

Denise Busko works on a painting last Saturday during Art by the River. She was one of the 150 artists and artisans on the grounds of Fort Malden for the 50th annual event.

Denise Busko works on a painting last Saturday during Art by the River. She was one of the 150 artists and artisans on the grounds of Fort Malden for the 50th annual event.

“Yesterday was one of our busiest days that I can remember,” said Dave Cozens, president of the board of directors. “Fortunately the storm came late enough (Saturday) that people had already been here.”

Saturday afternoon’s storm saw damage to about five tents but Cozens noted that it was minor and there were no injuries that he was aware of. The decision to close early came around 3 p.m.

“It could have been a lot worse,” said Cozens.

Sunday’s round of storms once again caused the event to shut down early, as the call was made to close around 2 p.m. The gallery reported via the Art by the River page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/artbytheriveramherstburg) they were on track for a record turnout before the thunderstorms rolled in.

Overall, there were about 150 vendors that took over the grounds at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada. Being the 50th anniversary of Art by the River, the gallery added a raffle tent with about 80 pieces of art being donated. Cozens said that was popular.

“The raffle tent has been packed,” he said.

Vendors came from all around southern Ontario, he said, something publicity director and board member Bonnie Deslippe confirmed. She said many are from around London and Toronto with some being north of Toronto. One vendor comes from as far as Manitoba every year.

Traya and Melah Mulder  create their own pieces of art at the “Little Artists’ Workshop” during Art by the River.

Traya and Melah Mulder
create their own pieces of art at the “Little Artists’ Workshop” during Art by the River.

“The feedback I get from exhibitors is that they love the venue and they love how organized the show is,” said Deslippe. “We hear it all the time – ours is one of the better run festivals.”

While the 50th anniversary is important to the Gibson Gallery, Deslippe said the artists are the most important factor to Art by the River.

“For us, the focus is always on the art,” she said. “The focus is not about us, it is on the art and making sure everyone enjoys themselves, both the public and exhibitors.”

Deslippe pointed out the volunteers have been a vital part of the show for each of the 50 years.

“The event can’t go off without our dedicated volunteers,” she stated.

When storms hit, Deslippe added the volunteers worked hard to make sure everyone was safe and merchandise was cared for properly.

Crowds stream through Fort Malden National Historic Site during Art by the River. The event is the Gibson Gallery’s largest fundraiser of the year.

Crowds stream through Fort Malden National Historic Site during Art by the River. The event is the Gibson Gallery’s largest fundraiser of the year.

For Denise Busko, this year’s Art by the River was her first and she is trying to branch out into larger, outdoor shows to get more exposure to her paintings.

“This is what I want to do, sell my art,” she said. “I’m going to keep doing shows like this. It’s been a good experience. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback.”

Busko said she has done solo exhibitions and smaller shows but liked Art by the River.

“I think this has been the best yet just because of how many people come here,” she said.

Local author John Schlarbaum was along the shores of the Detroit River selling his books and reported Saturday afternoon things were going well.

“For me, I’ve sold a lot of books,” said Schlarbaum. “I am very happy.”

Schlarbaum called it “a nice local, cultural event” that allows him to connect with his readers.

“The Greek Chef” Oreste Papageorgiou and his delicacies were part of the show for about the sixth time. He said the people are very friendly and has never had any issues with the organizers of the show.

“A lot of the same people come here and say ‘we love you, don’t stop coming,” said Papageorgiou.

Papageorgiou said they loved the fact they were helping the Gibson Gallery celebrate the 50th annual show.

“We love to celebrate with them. That’s quite a milestone,” he said. “It seems to be getting better all the time.”

Dan Greenwood and his Erie Treasures Chainsaw Art came in from Wheatley for the second straight year and he called it a nice venue he enjoys coming to. He said he is learning what pieces to bring to which shows and has learned that the Amherstburg show has resulted in a lot of bird creations being sold.

“Last year, we sold everything that looked like an owl,” he said.

Greenwood said coming to Art by the River “has worked out very well” and “we love it here. We’ll come back again next year.” He added he can remember coming to Art by the River when he was 11 or 12-years-old.

Kaitlynn Lessard and Sallma Majthoab create a large piece of art as part of a competition for students during Art by the River.

Kaitlynn Lessard and Sallma Majthoab create a large piece of art as part of a competition for students during Art by the River.

Lanre Peacock was at Art by the River for the first time. Having just moved from Toronto to Windsor, he wanted to try a local show as he generates a good portion of his income through art sales.

“I love what I do,” he said.

Much of Peacock’s work is sold online but he wants to get to various art shows in the region as well and tried Art by the River. He said the exposure and feedback was strong.

“That goes a long way when you are hearing people talk about what you are doing,” said Peacock.

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and their phone number is 519-736-2826. Their website is www.gibsonartgallery.com, their Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/GibsonGallery and their Twitter account is @ARTamherstburg.

Renovations underway to Gibson Gallery

 

Bonnie Deslippe, publicity director at the Gibson Gallery, stands in the middle of the building, which is undergoing renovations. Plaster replacement, new lighting and paint are among the projects being done at the gallery, located at 140 Richmond St.

Bonnie Deslippe, publicity director at the Gibson Gallery, stands in the middle of the building, which is undergoing renovations. Plaster replacement, new lighting and paint are among the projects being done at the gallery, located at 140 Richmond St.

By Ron Giofu

 

The Gibson Gallery is closed for the winter for patrons which is allowing restoration work to be completed.

The 120-year-old building, formerly a Michigan Railroad Station, is in the midst of interior renovations, but publicity director Bonnie Deslippe said the work is not entirely unexpected.

“We started with the spotlights in January,” she said, noting new energy-efficient lights have replaced older lights which the gallery started having problems with. “We decided to paint the ceiling white to brighten up the room.”

It was when the display panels came down that the severity of the plaster problem became fully known. Deslippe said dust would collect on baseboards after an exhibit was hung and when they pulled down the first exhibit panel, the problem wasn’t immediately noticed. When a second panel was pulled down, plaster was found to be in severe disrepair causing new plaster to be installed throughout the Richmond St. gallery.

“At our last board meeting, we decided to repair the walls and for the time being, not put the panels back up,” she said.

The entire gallery will also be painted white, she added, in order to give the historic building a modern appearance on the inside.

“Going with white walls is a more modern look for a gallery,” she said.

The absence of the display panels means new ways of hanging exhibits will be necessary with Deslippe stating new hanging systems are being investigated.

“The main thing was to get the gallery ready for opening, then we can get exploring which hanging system to use,” said Deslippe.

The opening exhibit, which is due to open March 5, should be able to open on time but any possible delay should take no longer than one to two weeks.

???????????????????????????????“It’s only good stewardship,” she said of the renovations. “If you have a heritage building, you have to take care of it.”

The Gibson Gallery did get a small grant to help pay for the lighting with the rest of the work coming from a fund they maintain to run the gallery.

“We are fortunate we have Art by the River,” she said. “We have saved some money from that over the years.”

Deslippe said the Gibson Gallery opened in the building in 1969 after Florence Gibson bought it and donated it to the Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts. The look of the main gallery has not been changed since then, she said.

“The gallery really was due for an update,” said Deslippe.

The public will be invited to see the updated gallery once it reopens with Deslippe pointing out two more upcoming events. The annual general meeting is scheduled for March 24 at 7 p.m. with Rev. John Burkhart scheduled to give a talk on the building’s history.

The Gibson Gallery is also planning to have an exhibit this year on the Belle Vue property, she stated.

“If anyone in the public has photos or information to share, give us a call,” said Deslippe.

The Gibson Gallery can be reached at 519-736-2826 or through their website at www.gibsonartgallery.com.