Kyle Gonzales and Delfina Villacorta take in the work of Dave More in a new gallery space attached to Sunworks on Ross Street in Red Deer on Monday.

Commercial gallery launched downtown

Paul Harris often pondered how a city of nearly 100,000 people could not have a commercial art gallery. Well now Red Deer does.

Paul Harris often pondered how a city of nearly 100,000 people could not have a commercial art gallery.

Well now Red Deer does.

Harris and his partner Terry Warke are turning the retail space they own beside their Sunworks store on Ross Street into a new centre for art sales.

The 700-square-foot storefront used to house the Petit Jaune Fleur florist before it moved to Alexander Way. It was transformed last week into a gallery with hardwood floors and white walls.

The space opened on the weekend with an exhibit of 17 forest and garden paintings by artist David More. The Benalto painter is also showing more of his oil paintings of skyscapes in the Coconut Room Cafe, upstairs at Sunworks. Both exhibits will run to early January.

Harris said he’d been wondering what to do with the empty retail space just west of Sunworks, when the subject of Red Deer having no commercial art galleries came up. Suddenly, he knew exactly what to do with the storefront.

Harris made the decision to open the art space, knowing that it’s been hard for commercial galleries to make a go of it.

“I know they’ve struggled to keep the lights on and staff them.”

Red Deer’s last commercial gallery, bilton contemporary art, closed in 2010. And the Gallery IS, on Alexander Way, was turned into art studio space, although it still opens to the public for special shows.

But Harris believes the benefits of having a new gallery operating with access through Sunworks is that his current store staff can also staff and curate it. “We already have lights and staff, so it’s natural to extend into that space.

“Now people have just got to buy some art. …”

The business owner and Red Deer city councillor still has lots of details to work out — including the gallery’s name and the kind of art it will sell. Portfolios from accomplished, established artists will be considered.

Harris believes this will differentiate the new gallery from the smaller non-profit Harris-Warke gallery, which will continue to operate upstairs at Sunworks and shows more experimental works.

“We still need to discuss what does it mean to run a (commercial) gallery? ” said Harris, who isn’t afraid to move into new terrain.

He believes having a commercial art gallery on Ross Street will be a great fit with Sunworks, which already sells artistic ceramics, glass and jewelry.

Harris also believes it will be a good mix with surrounding businesses — including a new cocktail bar and smoked meat restaurant, existing eateries and gift stores.

Just Posted

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Art on Red Deer billboard a reminder of aboriginal women’s strength

Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s image is part of Resilience Project, shown from coast to coast

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber falls to Bryce Harper in Home Run Derby final

WASHINGTON — Nationals Park was eerily quiet late Monday when Kyle Schwarber… Continue reading

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month