Word on the street is that there is a new Art Gallery in town!
One of our recent additions to our beautiful downtown, is Gallery 202 Art Collective.
First point of curiosity, “Why 202?”
Today, we sat down and spoke with owners Janice Martin and Theresa Main.
“When I was first contemplating the art gallery opening in Mission, I was in East Hastings at their annual art crawl,” Janice tells us, describing the four day event showcasing 62 studios of various artisans. “Each studio has their own number. That appealed to me.”
They decided on Studio 202, but unfortunately the name had already been taken by a Yoga Studio in North Vancouver.
Gallery 202 it became… and quite advantageously considering their idea was to be more than just a studio. They wanted to be able to offer something to everyone.
Janice spent most of her life dancing to the art-beat of life from Nova Scotia, to Toronto to Vancouver and admits that a considerable part of her life has always been spent interacting with the arts community.
“I’m not a certified teacher,” she tells us. “Just an arts enthusiast who loves to teach.”
With a dream of owning and operating her own ceramics studio, Janice bought out the local franchise CrankPots Studio in 1999. This set her in the right direction and put her on the path that she always felt she’d been determined to follow.
Life has a funny way of changing direction from time to time, and as her family grew and plans changed, she ended up donating all her product and equipment to a local studio in Halifax.
Now, years later, in our little town of Mission, Janice restored her arts enthusiasm and thought of ways to once again, get herself involved and make a contribution to the arts community.
Hunkered down on her hobby farm, she began a studio on her property to teach a few classes to some local children.
Kids would congregate to paint clay pots and canvases, basically having fun while learning the fundamentals.
For the adults, she would often host Plein Air in her backyard and do the occasional private class.
As the level of interest grew, Janice knew that she was going to need an alternate location. Knocking on numerous doors around town, she was unable to find the perfect location to accommodate her ever-increasing numbers.
“I finally discovered Spark Art Collective,” she explains, “and they opened their doors and their studio classroom to me once or twice a week."
When the business went up for sale, Janice couldn’t help but see a fabulous opportunity.
Theresa Main was a longtime lab technician at the Mission Hospital and had met Janice through her Plein Air classes a few years prior. Having since recently retired,Theresa was ready to pursue her skills in the arts and share her love and learning in the area of acrylic and oil painting.
The two ladies decided to combine their talents and partner, both passionate about the investment.
It didn’t take long to get the gallery ready to go. A few coats of paint, a couple walls knocked down… and voila!
They celebrated their soft opening on December 14th.
From art in the backyard to a Gallery on Main Street.
Not bad at all.
Although Gallery 202 does share some similarities of the former business, the two ladies set out with a slightly different approach. They operate a full gallery model, featuring a small boutique gift shop, as well as the studio portion for various classes.
Since opening, they have been set on celebrating a collective group of Canadian based artists, The gallery features some of the best quality photography, fine arts, magnificent pieces, paintings, handcrafted pottery, glassware and jewelry.
Determined to collaborate with local businesses and artists, their mission is to promote its and culture within the community of Mission and beyond, welcoming all people in sharing collective creations with a focus on the inclusitivioty of all ages, genders and abilities.
Gallery 202 offers paint and take ceramics (both fired and non-fired pieces) in a drop-in and event capacity, as well as paint and take canvas and rustic sign events.
Theresa and Janice have been absolutely humbled by people of our community and the support they have been shown from the beginning.
“Our doors are now closed. It’s tough being a social business that involves bringing groups of people together,” Theresa says. “A congregation of people that can no longer congregate is a difficult thing to grasp.”
They are currently offering Make & Take Ceramic kits, offering the option to paint items in the comfort of your own home.
“We want to keep people doing something creative,” Janice tells us. “There is nothing better than seeing photos of entire families sitting at the table together and painting their own piece. Little kids holding up their art and showing it to you.”
Gallery 202 Art Collective is definitely contributing during a difficult time. They are offering a product that offers a sense of escape. They offer creation, as opposed to watching TV, video games or perusing social media. As a shop that just recently opened, their advice to the community right now is to not thrown in the towel.
“Stand your ground and do whatever you need to do to get by!”
Mission is definitely beginning to celebrate a new era of hip, creative shops and galleries, and I think we all look forward to many more of their kind!
When this is all over, Gallery 202 Art Collective invites you into the gallery to get lost in the inspiration of the beauty of our Canadian artists.