Diana Durand

Artists unite to create Gage gallery collective

A new artist space will fill a small void on Oak Bay Avenue as 17 artists launch Gage Gallery

A new artist space will fill a small void on Oak Bay Avenue. In the pocket between Kharma Design Studio and Gold, Silver and Coin Shoppe, 17 artists launch Gage Gallery today.

“Some of us are from the art collective that was in Fernwood and folded a couple years ago and we have been missing it a lot,” said Diana Durrand, one of five board members. “We miss having that whole group support. We looked for a space that we could afford and that took a couple of months.”

The non-profit collective decided on 2031 Oak Bay Ave. because of its attractive appeal at an affordable price, the close proximity to other galleries, and because Oak Bay seems like a community supportive of contemporary arts and appreciative of exhibits.

“We were absolutely thrilled when we heard how supportive Oak Bay is of the arts,” said member Arlene Nesbitt, adding other galleries in the community have shown curiosity about the newcomer on the block. “They have been welcoming.”

After a couple coats of paint and some sweat equity it opens to the public Aug. 8.

“We have 17 artists who are all inviting people. It’ll be fun, we’ll spill out a little bit into the street.” Durrand said of the opening gala. “It’s an interesting way to show your work and have the support of a group. It’s not always easy, with different ideas … but it’s magic.”

Artists hail from all around Victoria, including one Oak Bay artist, Bonnie Helm-Northover.

“We’re a real eclectic bunch,” Durrand said. The artists span from those with multiple shows under his or her belt to relative newcomers to the scene. “We mentor the younger ones or the ones who haven’t shown a lot.”

The Gage hosts its grand opening and silent auction on Aug. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. The 17 artist-members will be on hand to chat about their works at the introductory group show of contemporary art.

“Our first show will be a group show so it will be a mix of everything,” Durrand said. “Then the solo shows begin after our group show … Because we’re a collective we have a lot of freedom to do things. We’ll be able to do a lot of interesting things this year.”

There will also be an art auction fundraiser featuring the collective’s artists’ works at a starting bid of $50.

“We wanted to say thanks to the people who support the arts and the Gage,” Durrand said. “At the same time, we want to raise funds to help us on our way.”

If you miss out on the grand opening, slide by Tuesdays through Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. when the gallery is open. The group show runs for three weeks.