Art by the River provides a peaceful atmosphere

By Joel Charron

Artist George Alles sits at a picnic table, causally painting as people peruse his tent filled with his art Sunday afternoon.

Alles was one of 152 vendors whose were on displayed at Art by the River held at For Malden Historic National Site this past weekend.

Alles said he can’t remember how long he had been attending the Gibson Gallery’s Art by the River, but knows it’s been quite some time.

“I’ve been coming here for at least 15-20 years,” said Alles. “This is a great show. I think it’s the best show in the County really.”

Alles believes having the show run along side a river really gives the show a calm, peaceful setting that puts people at ease and allows them to really enjoy the art on display.

Alles noted that the Gibson Gallery organizing committee has done an “excellent job” keeping the focus on the art instead of turning the show into a “travelling sideshow.”

“The focus is right where is needs to be, on the artist and their art,” he said.

Art by the River chairperson Sue Brewin said the 152 vendors is the most vendors the event has ever hosted and even had a waiting list of people in case an artist had to back out at the last second.

“During the recession the numbers dropped slightly but we are building back up,” said Brewin.

Although the warm, muggy weather didn’t keep the people away, Brewin said it did slightly affect attendance.

“It’s nice today (Sunday) with the breeze. That breeze makes a big difference,” she said. “Saturday was a good day, we had a good crowd but it was a warm day and people didn’t come out in the late afternoon because it was too hot”

Brewin noted that Art by the River is “vital” to the Gibson Gallery because it serves as the gallery’s major fundraiser.

“This is our fundraiser that keeps us going,” said Brewin. “We draw other revenue from other activities such as children and adult art classes and shows but this is the big one, there is no doubt about that.”


While looking over his vendor tent, artist Geroge Alles takes time to finish a painting.

Brewin added that people enjoy Art by the River because it offers attendees a variety of artist that offer some “unique items,” not to mention the show is located along the Detroit River, which Brewin said adds a nice element.

“Fort Malden, along the river is a beautiful site,” she said. “You will see a lot of people just sitting on the river bank, looking out and enjoying the scenery.”

Gibson Gallery’s public relations officer Bonnie Deslippe said the committee added more entertainment to the docket this year because they wanted to “enhance the visitors experience.”

“We want this to be a real family event,” explained Deslippe. “We want to offer people something other than art. If people are finished looking around and don’t want to go home yet, they have something to do.”

Deslippe said having the entertain located by the barracks was a good idea because “people knew that’s where to go if they wanted to see the entertainment.”

Although Brewin was busy helping around the grounds, it didn’t stop her from keeping an eye out for some hidden treasures.

“I have my eye on a few thing,” she laughed. “I won’t be leaving today empty handed.”

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