The Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery celebrated its fifth anniversary on the weekend.
TIDNISH BRIDGE – Diana Vertis McIsaac had a vision when she saw the empty visitors information centre in Tidnish Bridge five years ago.
That vision has become the hub of a vibrant arts community and the Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery is celebrating its fifth anniversary as a place for local artists and artisans to showcase their talent as well as a place for people to come to learn about the arts from some of the area’s best artists.
“It was one of those if you build it they will come type things,” Vertis McIsaac said. “When I saw this building I saw so much potential and a I saw a focal point for an arts community that everyone knew was here but just didn’t see. I thought I we didn’t try we’d never know.”
Since 2010, the gallery has displayed the original works of art in numerous styles produced by Maritime artists and hosts group classes and private lessons in water colours, sketching, drawing, clay and writing as well as offering special events.
“The gallery has exceeded our expectations,” she said. “The right people are here and we’re having fun. That’s what it’s all about.”
To help kick off the summer season, the gallery is hosting a three-day workshop next week with nationally-renowned artist Brian Ateyo at the Tidnish Crossroads Community Centre while Oxford Regional Education Centre student Joanna Aldred will be exhibiting her Infinity collection of photographs from June 1 to 7 with a meet the artist event on June 1 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Other scheduled exhibitions include Jean Hurst (June 8 to 20), Ginny Diezel (June 8 to 20), Judy Arkell (July 13 to 25 with a reception on July 13 from 1 to 4 p.m.), Roch Borque (Aug. 3 to 15 with a Meet the Artist reception on Aug. 3 from 1 to 4 p.m.) and Rainer Wenzel (Aug. 17 to 29 with a Meet the Artist reception on Aug. 17 from 1 to 3 p.m.)
“We’ll also be hosting numerous workshops including everything from water colour, to acrylic to egg tempera classes,” Cathy Thurston said. “There will be pottery, etching, basketry, meditation and art, photography and block printing, which is something new this year.”
Thurston said participants for some of the workshops come from throughout the Maritimes. The workshop with Ateyo is attracting people from as far as the South Shore. A number of people who summer at the shore also attend the workshops throughout the summer.
Thurston said the gallery is fortunate to have some great partners including Bob Morouney who was recently the artist in residence in County Mayo, Ireland, along with Vertis McIsaac, Laurell Hamilton, Margaret Wiles and Cathy and Harry Thurston.
“One of the things that makes this place so successful is that we’re not just part of this wall-decorating business, we’re part of this culture business,” Morouney said. “We bring it to the rural community in way that it’s really approachable. The people know us and I think it brings them to an appreciation and an introduction of culture in their own lives whether it’s through a little painting or woodworking.”
The gallery also attracts 1,700 or more visitors a year off the road, which is located at a crossroads with the border with New Brunswick. With more tourists experiencing the backroads, Morouney said, many of them are stopping at the gallery as they enter the province at Tidnish.
Thurston said she has been tracking visitors and they’ve come from every state and province in the continent and as far as China and Europe.
Classes and workshops include pastels on June 19 and paper clay sculpting on June 20.
Among the partner exhibits scheduled is Bob Morouney from July 1 to 11.
The art gallery is also hosting an open house on June 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Tuesday to Sunday and holiday Mondays through the Art on the Marsh Studio Tour on Oct. 18 and 19.