Saturday, September 02, 2017


My work is exhibited in 3 Central Alberta galleries/gift shops, as many of you know.  I've had pieces in the Bonavista Fine Art Gallery in Sylvan Lake for a good year or so now and was absolutely thrilled to show there, as the owner, Denise Milne, gave me beautiful wall space...

So you can imagine my emotions this morning when I opened my e-mail to find this, written last night:
Good evening artists,
I am writing today to regretfully inform you that Bonavista Fine Art Inc. will be closing it's doors September 30th, 2017. It is not financially feasible for us to continue operating.
I'm very sorry for any inconvenience I have caused anyone and to those of you whom I have set classes up with.
Thank you so much to each and every one of you for giving us the opportunity to showcase your unique and stunning pieces of artwork. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours! 
Please contact me to set an appointment for when you can come in to sign out your pieces before September 30th, or if you would like to leave your pieces up to the last day I can schedule your pick up appointments for the first  week in October, just let me know.
I will be discounting my pieces by quite a bit because I don't really want to take them all home ;) So if any of you would like to do the same please reply to this email with your desired percentage discount and I will change the prices in the gallery asap. 
Sincerely,Denise MilneArtist/Owner

It's a letter you hope never to get, signalling not so much a reflection of the still-wobbly economy in these parts but (and this is only my opinion) the challenges of trying to create a viable venue for artists in a part of the province where there are many practitioners, but not that many consumers or appreciators of art.  This is not the Big City.  Sylvan Lake is a large town that bursts at the seams in the summer, with cottagers and vacationers...a town that fosters (perhaps) a more casual lifestyle.  It has a Jazz Festival that has struggled in recent years to provide entertainment for all ages, for families as well as jazz afficionados and connoisseurs -- again (perhaps) because of lack of appreciation for the artistry involved.

I know I'm rambling here, Gentle Readers, so I will draw this to a close...but welcome your thoughts.

P.S. I offered to allow a modest discount to see if some of my pieces will sell before she closes the doors.  Her commission has always been very reasonable, so this wouldn't impact too much.  We shall see.


rtquilter said...

That's a pretty sad story, Margaret! I think it is not unique though. In tight economic times. art suffers badly, being seen as an unnecessary "frill". I hoe you and your friend with the gallery can both come upon a happier situation soon! Keep your chins up!!

Susan Lenz said...

So sorry this has happened ... yet again. So many locations are closing in big cities too. It is getting harder and harder to find venues, trust-worthy gallerists, and especially a buying audience. A gallery in Charleston, South Carolina recently closed while still owing artists plenty of funds. A newspaper article trying to hone in on the financial issues quoted one artist saying he was hopeful to receive payment for at least one-in-three works that were not returned to him. The artist also sad, "Something is better than nothing". I was thankfully not part of this gallery but know some who lost big. Artists are generally getting the short in of the stick, but many reputable galleries are struggling, losing money, and just as desperate. For me, storage is an issue ... a serious issue. Where are we supposed to store all our creations? Best of luck finding a new venue to share your wonderful work. Susan

Unknown said...

"trying to create a viable venue for artists in a part of the province where there are many practitioners, but not that many consumers or appreciators of art."

Sadly, I think it is true in so many areas that we are, in fact, our own best collectors...

I am sorry to hear this...