photo contributed Jo Colley, Jean Toker, and Lynda Earley are artists with works on display at the Reedman Gallery in Blind Bay.

Column: Gallery alive with activity

Across the street from the Blind Bay public beach is a roadside sign that says the art gallery is open. The basement of the Blind Bay hall houses the Reedman Gallery in the summer months and the space is alive with exciting and vibrant colors.

Jean Toker, who is president of the Blind Bay Hall, says the gallery is a wonderful asset to the community because it promotes local artists as well as offering one-of-a-kind gift items.

“The gallery opened last year as a trial for half the summer and it was very well received by visitors and locals,” says Jean. “We have quite a few local people who have company and every time they have guests they bring them.”

This year 18 artists from the Shuswap area are taking part in the artists’ collaborative. Items range from woodwork, fibre art, and glass jewelry, to acrylics, pastels, oils, and mixed media. Prices range from a few dollars to just under $1,000. There are cards, purses, statues, clothing items, and even artistic items that are useful around the house, like tea cozies and pine needle baskets.

Salmon Arm artist Jo Colley is originally from Australia and her native country still inspires some of her work.

She is part of the collaborative and she looks forward to her turn to volunteer at the gallery.

“I love the interaction with different people, and not knowing too many people in the area, it’s a nice way to meet people. It’s my way of getting the know the community.”

Lynda Earley, a retired English professor from Thompson River University, lives is Sorrento and is also part of the collaborative.

“I like birds, flowers, landscapes – ordinary stuff.”

But Lynda’s ‘ordinary’ includes scenes include Mexico (where she like to spend a lot of time) or other places around the world. She loved doing art as a child, but, like many others, she put her artistic life on hold as she raised a family and pursued a career.

“When I retired I thought I would be a writer, but I decided to try my hand at visual arts. The Blind Bay painters are a very inspiring group – and here I am.”

Jean, Jo, and Lynda agree that deciding to sell their art was a big and scary step.

“It takes a lot of courage,” says Jean.

“You’re putting yourself out there, and if you don’t sell anything you have to get over it,” says Lynda.

“The first painting I ever sold – the cheque bounced. I was shattered,” says Jo, laughing about it now.

It’s nice a nice feeling when their artworks sell, they say, but in a way, just having it displayed is really part of the fun. That’s what the Reedman Gallery is all about, says Jean.

“It encourages artists to get involved with other artists and put their work out there. You don’t want to create it and leave it at home. This encourages artists to put their work out there for the public to see.”

The Reedman Gallery is open Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Aug. 27.

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