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Non-profit Tides Contemporary Art Gallery opens in Kentville


KENTVILLE, N.S. —

The Annapolis Valley's newest art gallery is now open in Kentville. 

Tides Contemporary Art Gallery is non-profit gallery that features the work of more than a dozen established and emerging artists from Kings County and southwestern Nova Scotia.

It's a project of the Kentville Art Gallery Society, and is the space formerly occupied by the Hardware Gallery, across the street from the Kings County Museum.

The new gallery is a co-op, with staffing provided mainly by the artists themselves and some volunteers. Operating costs are covered by membership fees, so the gallery already has its first year of expenses and marketing costs in the bank.

Gallery co-ordinator and society chair Bob Hainstock said the co-op model makes the most sense for a new gallery. 

“Private ownership starting a new gallery with private money, it's just not happening anymore,” he said. 

The featured artists sit the gallery from one to three days a month, which means there are no staffing costs so money can be spent on marketing.

“To establish a gallery again in Kentville is going to take a lot of marketing.”

He said the gallery has a good mix. 

Bob Hainstock poses for a photo at the new Tides Contemporary Art Gallery in Kentville. Hainstock, the gallery co-ordinator, says co-ops are a good model when opening new galleries. - Ian Fairclough
Bob Hainstock poses for a photo at the new Tides Contemporary Art Gallery in Kentville. Hainstock, the gallery co-ordinator, says co-ops are a good model when opening new galleries. - Ian Fairclough

A varied palette of artists

There are established artists with international reputations and exposure in top New York and Toronto galleries, as well as several some just beginning their exhibition experience. Artists will change their exhibition work every month.

Among those showing are Maggie Schmidt Mandell, Roy Mandell, Carolyn Mallory, Wayne Boucher and Gundrun Mueller-Both.

“We've  concentrated mainly on painters and print makers: the wall artists,” Hainstock said. “Now we have to make an effort to get the floor artists, the sculptors, the metal, fibre and wood people.”

There is a waiting list of about a dozen artists hoping to get into the gallery, and Hainstock said he would love to see more artist co-ops get established, and said the model has proven successful elsewhere.

The town owns the building and wants to sell, so Hainstock said it's critical that the gallery achieve success during its two-year lease.

He said the society would also like to develop the second floor of the building and put in a print-makers co-op, potters co-op and an educational co-op that would put on classes and workshops in a huge array of arts and crafts mediums.

“We want to make this whole area very active, with a lot of traffic coming into Kentville to either look or take part in the arts and culture activities,” he said. 

“Arts and culture enterprises are providing a new energy and confidence in small towns, that you don't have to bring in the big manufacturing plants or count on government jobs anymore.”

He said more and more people who are retiring, or nearing retirement age, are taking up interests in the arts “and finding out that they're damn good at it. They're getting a satisfaction of 'hey, who knew I was an artist?'”

That also helps fuel galleries, he said. 

The gallery will also feature an art gift boutique and art rental program. The gift boutique will feature smaller, less expensive pieces. The art rental program is designed for home or office and includes rent-to-own features, as well as opportunities for business rewards to company employees or customers.

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