Amherst artisan gallery seeing success

Darrell Cole
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Grand opening set for Thursday

Gil Collicott (left) and John Warner look over some of the art available at the Amherst Train Station Artisans Gallery. The gallery is hosting an open house on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.

AMHERST – Amherst's new artisans' gallery appears to be a success.

"We just finished our fifth week and the response has been exceptional," artisan John Warner said. "We have 35 artisans from Cumberland and Westmorland counties and we've had about 800 visitors into the gallery, some who have come from as far away as England, Japan and the United States."

The artisans and the town announced in July they were entering into a four-month trial to assess using the 107-year-old train station as a gallery. The town is leasing the station from Via Rail for $600 and the artisans are paying a fee to showcase their creations at the gallery.

To celebrate the first month in business, the artisans are coming together on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. to host a grand opening.

"It will be an opportunity for people to speak to the artisans who created the art," Warner said. "We're expecting all of our artisans to be here."

Gil Collicott said Amherst has always been known as an arts community, but many artists worked away in anonymity or showcased their creations at art shows in Moncton, Halifax or Saint John. He said it's great there's a location in Amherst for them to do that.

"Since at least 1995 we have been looking for a place to call our own and now we have one and it's operated by the artisans," Collicott said.

Most importantly, Warner said, the gallery allows artists and artisans to take their creations out of basements, closets, garages, barns and spare rooms and show them publicly.

He said the gallery has been so popular among artisans that there's a waiting list of at least 10 wanting to show their art pieces in the gallery. He said he, Collicott and Ted Evans are working to move some of the art around to create more space for additional pieces and to take better advantage of the available lighting.

"We're going to create some more room to we can show more, but it won't be cluttered," Warner said. 

The gallery, that is open each Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m., features photographs and pottery, oil and watercolour paintings, carvings, metal art, rugs, jewellry, fabric works, quilts, stained glass and folk art.

There is also a small gift shop for smaller handmade items, paintings, drawings, photos and books.

Warner and other artisans have been going around the area spreading the news of the gallery in hopes of attracting more people to Amherst. He said he has placed small ads at the visitor information centre at the border and he recently visited Cape Jourimain nature centre near the Confederation Bridge.

Organizations: Via Rail

Geographic location: Amherst, Westmorland, England Japan United States Moncton Saint John Cape Jourimain

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