When you bring creativity and community together, great things can happen – inspiration gets ignited, world views widen, and ideas get exchanged and grow as you get the chance to see things through a different perspective. A visit to your local art gallery can do all of these things, and more.
When they initially opened Ocean View Art Gallery, co-owners Tammy Wrice-Paetkau and Michelle Rowe, who are also visual artists, wanted to create a place where a new artistic culture could thrive in their town of Carbonear. About four years in, their vision has come to life. Located at 195 Water Street, in Carbonear’s historic downtown, the gallery represents over 65 local artists, but it doesn’t just house pretty pictures. Sharing the space with Rowe’s fine art school, and contained within a building that houses a coffee shop and several other local businesses, the space is a community hub where folks can come together to share conversation and get inspired – whether they’re art aficionados or have never stepped foot inside an art gallery before.
The gallery also hosts a variety of events, and showcases artists with solo exhibits as well. Currently, the gallery is hosting their very first artist in residence, Dominique Hurley, whose exhibition “Communion” (which runs until April 20) perfectly aligns with the gallery’s vision. In addition to leading morning meditations, community inspiration walks and an intuitive painting workshop, Hurley is also creating on location “Communing with Community,” the seventh piece of her “Re-Connecting Collection” of stained-glass-window-inspired paintings. Like most of her work, Hurley is creating the piece without a roadmap, letting the layers of paint, her process and experience within the community lead the way.
“Bringing this practice out into the community is a stretch of my comfort zone even if it’s the next natural step in my evolution. I initiated this art lab experience in Carbonear to open myself and others to the creative re-connecting effects of communing through the intuitive visionary art process,” Hurley says.
Wrice-Paetkau says the concept of “communing with community” is one that resonates strongly.
“(It) literally parallels the message that we believe in and our mantra that we have here at the gallery. Our doors are always open here for the community not only to view the art, but to be able to come in and embrace it and be a part of it and to explore if they’ve never been to a gallery before, if they’ve never walked into a classroom before, if they’ve never held a paintbrush before,” she says.
“We do a lot of free community events for our town of Carbonear and we work with the town on a yearly basis to be a part of all of their activities, and to always inject that art component into any festival or any event that they’re doing here.”
The gallery, Wrice-Paetkau adds, represents a variety of artists at different levels and phases of their career, and they are always looking for new artists to work with.
“If we are given an opportunity to work with an artist who’s really thinking outside the box and is really looking to embrace the uniqueness of what their message is, we give them the freedom and the ability and the platform to do that,” she says.
“That’s basically what we’re looking to do – to help generate that community, so to speak, of artistry and artisan all under one roof.”