Everything old is new again at Wortley Village's Westland Gallery
- Written by Richard Young
A new art gallery opens its doors this week in Wortley Village.
Well, sort of.
In this case, everything old is new again.
After operating The Art Exchange out of its present location for the past 11 years, owners Al and Karen Stewart are moving the family-owned art gallery to the historic Westland Building in the heart of Wortley Village, previously occupied by ET Lamont Antiques for over 60 years.
With the move comes a new name -- the Westland Gallery.
"When Gene Lamont first approached us a few years ago about sharing space in the Westland building and turning his antique store into an art gallery we were thrilled," says Al Stewart.
"Sadly, Gene passed away in 2011. Honouring his memory and wishes, we have been hard at work renovating and restoring the interior of the building to house the new Westland Gallery. We've retained the name Westland to connect the building to its history in Wortley Village. Think of it as a new art gallery with 16 years experience in a 127 year old building that started off doing just this."
[The Westland Building, circa 1908]
The building was erected in 1886 by William Westland as a paint and wallpaper store that also sold pictures and picture framing. The façade and the large front windows have been preserved and the back of the building has been opened up to create a larger space for viewing art with its 12' high ceilings, says Stewart.
[The building has been opened up for viewing art with its 12' high ceilings]
"I feel we have brought the old building full circle," adds Stewart.
The new gallery will continue The Art Exchange's mission of showcasing established and emerging Canadian artists.
For its Grand Opening Exhibition, June 18 to July 6, the Westland Gallery will showcase works by 15 major Canadian artists who have been featured at The Art Exchange over the years, including Catherine Morrisey, Cliff Kearns, Angela Lorenzen, Derek McLarty and Donna Andreychuk. Visitors will get a rare glimpse of work ranging from abstraction to expressionism to high-realism, much of which has never been seen before in a gallery context, says Stewart.
[Angela Lorenzen - Awenda - 16" x 30" acrylic on panel]
Future exhibitions include the 2nd Annual Square Foot Show, July 19 - August 3; Birds in Art (curated by Beth Stewart), August 6-17; Derek McLarty September 3-21 and Margarethe Vanderpas, October 15 - November 2.
The public can check out the Westland Gallery's new digs and mingle with many of the artists at the Grand Opening Exhibition on Friday, June 21 at 7:30pm.
As for The Art Exchange building at 247 Wortley Road, Stewart says it will remain open, but its focus will be custom framing and picture framing for artists. "We will offer a few other features that will bring us back closer to our roots, but these ideas are still in development," he adds.
Stewart waxes philosophic about the opening of the new Westland Gallery. "With the help of countless friends, old and new, we have hopefully been able to create a beautiful environment in the heart of one of the most beautiful areas of the city for people to come and enjoy some fabulous art. We are very proud of the exceptional work produced here in London and region and we hope that everyone who attends this grand opening exhibition will join us in applauding these achievements."
If You Go:
What: Grand Opening Exhibition featuring works by 15 of Canada's leading artists.
When: June 18 to July 6, 2013. Grand Opening Reception, Friday, June 21 @ 7:30pm.
Where: Westland Gallery, Westland Building, 156 Wortley Road, London ON
Contact: Karen & Al Stewart, , www.westlandgallery.ca, , LIKE Westland Gallery on Facebook
Richard Young is the publisher/managing editor of The Beat Magazine.