Mudpuppy Gallery

Mudpuppy Gallery announces closure at seventh anniversary celebration

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Sunday was a day of mixed emotions at the Mudpuppy Gallery.

While it was the gallery’s seventh anniversary, it was also the day where the news that the doors of their Dalhousie St. location will be closing at the end of the month became official. Owner Melissa Piva stated they were there “for a number of reasons,” including to celebrate the growth and the “coming together as a community” that occurred over the past seven years.

However, Piva said that due to circumstances beyond their control, they could no longer afford to keep their current location. With fingers crossed, she hopes it will just be a pause in the gallery’s existence.

“We do still own the Mudpuppy name,” she said, adding they are keeping their eyes open for an affordable option in Amherstburg of similar size.

“Currently, there is nothing of this size available,” said Piva.

Piva thanked everyone who had a hand in the gallery during the last seven years, including every artist, volunteer and even those who simply shared a post about the gallery on social media.

Artists past and present that helped operate the Mudpuppy Gallery turned out for a seventh anniversary celebration Sunday afternoon. Current owner Melissa Piva (right) announced that, due to circumstances beyond their control, the gallery will be closing its doors at the end of June.

Artists past and present that helped operate the Mudpuppy Gallery turned out for a seventh anniversary celebration Sunday afternoon. Current owner Melissa Piva (right) announced that, due to circumstances beyond their control, the gallery will be closing its doors at the end of June.

“You made the Mudpuppy what it was,” she told the gathering of artists and gallery supporters at a Sunday afternoon reception.

The Mudpuppy Gallery supported established and upcoming artists, Piva added, and “it’s something we should be extremely proud of.”

“I’m glad the Mudpuppy Gallery was a part of my life,” added artist Betty Hebert. “It showcased so many different things.”

Cheryl MacLellan said she was sad to see the Mudpuppy Gallery have to close its location, noting she and husband met a lot of “great people and great artists.

“It made my husband’s dream come true,” she added. “That means a lot to me.”

Rob MacLellan, who helped found the Mudpuppy, rounded up five other artists at the start including Rocco DiPasquale, Dennis White, Stephen Gibb, Robert Honor and Shannon MacPherson. He said he was grateful the Mudpuppy succeeded like it did.

“We just do this because we love to make art,” said MacLellan. “The Mudpuppy is not dead yet. I”m sure something will show its head in the future.”

Honor thanked Piva for keeping the gallery going. She was a partner for one year before taking over as owner two years ago. Honor said the original six got tired and wanted to move on and “she kept it going.”

Cheryl MacLellan and his wife Debra also made major contributions in the beginning, Honor stated, noting they helped get artists to exhibit and volunteered in other ways. He said it is a full-time job to keep the gallery going and “there has to be someone like Cheryl or Mel to keep it going.”

Piva pointed out she is looking at trying to obtain grant funding to keep the name alive in case a new location can’t be found. She floated the idea of networking with businesses and possibly doing public art under the Mudpuppy banner.

The last exhibit – Art Squared – will be displayed until the end of the month. For more information, call 519-560-0470 or visit www.mudpuppygallery.webs.com.

Mudpuppy’s featured artist for May is Grade 9 Villanova student

 

By Danica Skakavac

At only fifteen-years-old and in the ninth grade, Madison Young of St. Thomas of Villanova has made quite a name for herself.

While she has loved art since the age of four, Young has been interested in her current style, hyperrealism, for only one and a half years. Despite the short period of time, Young’s skill has only grown dramatically and her wonderful artwork is being showcased again and again. She has been featured in a couple of local magazines, attended a couple of charities where she donated original artwork for auction and, as well, was the Mudpuppy Gallery’s student artist.

This month, she became the gallery’s featured artist. Only recently has she been spotlighted in a much different way; when local musician Christian Vegh’s mother contacted Young’s mother, Sharon, about designing the cover art for his brand-new single, “Worthy.”

Madison Young, a Grade 9 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, is this month’s featured artist at the Mudpuppy Gallery in Amherstburg. (RTT Photo by Danica Skakavac)

Madison Young, a Grade 9 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, is this month’s featured artist at the Mudpuppy Gallery in Amherstburg. (RTT Photo by Danica Skakavac)

Young jumped at the opportunity and designed a stunning cover, the picture a very realistic pair of diamond-encrusted lips.

“It was an exciting opportunity and I’m very fortunate they asked me,” Young said.

Young isn’t planning on letting her talent go to waste either, as she has opened an online store so people can purchase prints and paintings they like. In the future, she wants to attend medical school to become a surgeon (though unsure of what specialty in particular) but is adamant about continuing her artwork, just maybe not full-time. She is very proud of the textures she incorporates into said artwork, since she is able to render those textures with only coloured pencils.

“My favourite thing about creating art is a sense of accomplishment,” she said. “It is exciting when people want to purchase my artwork to hang in their homes or businesses.”

If you are interested, you can visit Young’s website at www.diamonddraws.com. Young’s exhibit at the Mudpuppy Gallery will be running through the month of May.

Mudpuppy Gallery hosting “In the Eye of the Beholder” exhibit

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Mudpuppy Gallery is hosting its latest exhibit, which features work from a variety of different age groups and mediums.

“In the Eye of the Beholder” opened March 16 and runs through April 9. Mudpuppy Gallery owner Melissa Piva said it is a community show.

“It was open for all ages and all stages to submit to,” she said. “They could enter anything they wanted.”

Submissions came from both new and returning artists; some coming as far as Windsor and Kingsville. The “In the Eye of the Beholder” theme reflects that while one piece of art may not appeal to someone, another piece might. The exhibit takes up an entire wall at the gallery.

“There is art for everybody,” said Piva.

“In the Eye of the Beholder” is currently on exhibit at the Mudpuppy Gallery. The latest exhibit runs through April 9 at the Dalhousie St. gallery. The Mudpuppy Gallery is open Thursday-Sunday. (Photo by Danica Skakavac)

“In the Eye of the Beholder” is currently on exhibit at the Mudpuppy Gallery. The latest exhibit runs through April 9 at the Dalhousie St. gallery. The Mudpuppy Gallery is open Thursday-Sunday. (Photo by Danica Skakavac)

Everything including acrylics, water colours, mixed media, alcohol ink, black ink, landscapes, portraits and sculptures is represented as part of the exhibit.

The next exhibit runs April 13-May 7 and will be “The Madison Young Collection.” The 14-year-old Amherstburg girl was featured last year as an emerging artist and will get her own feature show this year.

Piva said a recent pancake and sundae “Fun Day” at the Beacon Ale House was a success with the next “Sip & Paint” event at the Beacon Ale House being March 29. The “Sip & Paint” event is for beginners and costs $35 with supplies and the first drink of the evening provided. It runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and to register, call 519-560-0470 or message them on their Facebook page.

The Mudpuppy Gallery’s contest where people can bring in a receipt from any downtown business and enter it for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the downtown business they choose runs until April 2. Piva said they have been getting a good response to the promotion. For more information, call the gallery or visit their Facebook page.

The Mudpuppy Gallery is located at 264 Dalhousie St. in Amherstburg and is open Thursday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 12-6 p.m. Their website can be found at http://www.mudpuppygallery.webs.com/.

Mudpuppy Gallery hosting community draw to entice more downtown shopping

 

By Danica Skakavac

The Mudpuppy Gallery has an exciting new event planned to attract new visitors – a community draw.

The rules of the draw are simple – bring in a receipt from a local downtown business and drop it off in hopes of winning a $50 gift card. The draw runs out of the Gallery, located at 264 Dalhousie St., from Feb. 20 to April 2, with the winner being drawn at random April 6 at 10 a.m. The more receipts you bring in, the more chances you have of winning.

The downtown business area includes St. Arnaud at Sandwich (Ricardo’s) to Simcoe at Sandwich (Flowers by Anna), and Dalhousie at Gore to Alma at Laird. Gallery workers wanted to include as many small, privately owned businesses as possible.

Downtown shoppers are encourage to participate in a draw being put on by the Mudpuppy Gallery. (Photo by Danica Skakavac)

Downtown shoppers are encourage to participate in a draw being put on by the Mudpuppy Gallery. (Photo by Danica Skakavac)

The point of the giveaway is to introduce the community to the Mudpuppy Gallery and show what it has to offer.

“It gives the opportunity to introduce ourselves in person,” said Mudpuppy owner, Melissa Piva. “I believe that the ideal part of your community to introduce yourself to are the people that are right outside your door.”

Piva said although there has always been involvement and activity at the gallery, she is hoping this contest will make patrons more aware of them, along with what beliefs they hold, what they have to offer, and connect the gallery with the local community that’s helped them along.

Piva expects the event will attract people who support the downtown businesses, not just those interested in the arts.

“If it goes well, I wouldn’t be against holding it every spring,” Piva said.

Piva added she would love to see other small businesses take turns doing it as well.

Pair of local artists on exhibit at Mudpuppy Gallery

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of local artists are now featured at the Mudpuppy Gallery.

Brianne MacLaren-Ross is the month’s featured artist with her exhibit “Boblo Now” showing the island in its present state through landscape and nature photography. Not only is the work on photo paper, but on aluminum, acrylic, and canvas.

“For the past five years, I’ve been taking pictures and I’ve started a collection,” said MacLaren-Ross. “I was trying to feature Boblo on what it looks like today.”

Brianne MacLaren-Ross is the featured artist this month at  the Mudpuppy Gallery.

Brianne MacLaren-Ross is the featured artist this month at
the Mudpuppy Gallery.

MacLaren-Ross lives on the island with husband Norm Ross and has many photos from different seasons and times of day with buildings, birds and much more featured. She said she has been exposed to photography thanks to her father Brad, an owner of a photo lab in Windsor.

“I got my education from my dad,” she said. “My dad was my influence.”

The English teacher said she is pursuing a Ph.D. in visual literacy and the photos could be used in that line of work as well.

“I enjoy taking pictures. It’s kind of my hobby,” said MacLaren-Ross.

MacLaren-Ross said she enjoys the Mudpuppy Gallery because it is local. This is her first official exhibit but she stated she has had some informal showings in Windsor before this.

Her husband said the Boblo community has supported the exhibit and that having it local is “one more thing that adds to the texture of Amherstburg.”

Fourteen-year-old Madison Young also has work of her own featured this month at the Mudpuppy Gallery as she is November’s “emerging artist.” Her detailed drawings have been gaining notice.

“I’ve been taking my art more seriously and drawing a lot more realistic stuff,” she said.

Madison Young is the Mudpuppy Gallery's "emerging artist" during November.

Madison Young is the Mudpuppy Gallery’s “emerging artist” during November.

Young, a Grade 9 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, said she enjoys drawing things that are very detailed and realistic, such as people and animals.

“I’m taking a lot more time with my work and producing a lot more quality drawings,” said Young.

Both Young and MacLaren-Ross said they got started in their respective mediums since they were four-years-old.

“I’m self-taught,” said Young. “I’ve been practicing for a long time.”

Young said she tries to draw at least 10-15 hours per week. She hopes to be a surgeon when she gets older but also wants her drawings to inspire people.

“It’s pretty exciting,” she said of her first exhibit.

The Mudpuppy Gallery is located at 264 Dalhousie St.