By Bonnie Schiedel
“Local art is a passion for us,” says Biljana Baker, president of Lakehead Visual Arts (LVA). It’s a passion that many TBayers share. For more than 60 years, the LVA has been encouraging local artists and local interest in visual arts. It’s the oldest art association in Thunder Bay and has 35 members, including Lynne Lindsey, Pat Iszak, William Currie, and Sirpa Bishop, to name just a few.
After a long tradition of hosting a Summer Gallery in what’s now the Baggage Building Arts Centre at Prince Arthur’s Landing, the event went on hiatus for six years while the group searched for a new venue (members also have work on display in the city’s north end at Gallery 33). Last year, they started a Winter Gallery at Arthur Street Marketplace, the plaza on West Arthur Street. “We needed to get out there again,” says Baker. “We are still going strong.” Initially concerned the location might be too quiet, the LVA was pleasantly surprised. “It was so well received,” says Baker. “People found us, and they came back again.”
The Winter Gallery, staffed by the artists themselves, returns to the plaza this November and December for six weeks. The artwork for sale is entirely original (no prints) and includes a variety of mediums, from oils and watercolours to acrylics and alcohol inks. Most of the artists—and, indeed, the buyers too—are inspired by the natural beauty of the northwest. The prices range from approximately $25 for a mini-painting to $2,500 for large works, and some of the artists allow payment by instalments. There is also a selection of $3 cards. Not sure if the art will work in your home? Some artists permit a 24-hour trial period to see how it looks. Commissions are also an option, depending on the artist.
While many customers are from Thunder Bay, treating themselves to an original work or purchasing one as a holiday gift, Baker says she was impressed by the number of buyers from the United States, eastern Canada and former residents who want a reminder of the region’s stunning landscapes in their homes.
The Winter Gallery runs November 16 to December 30, Tuesday—Friday from noon to 8 pm, and weekends noon to 6 pm. Visit lakeheadvisualarts.ca for more information.