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.

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