North Coast artists are celebrating 10 years of art displays and professional development at the Ice House Gallery.
Featuring all mediums of art from high-end oil paintings and photography to pottery, unique knitting, fibre art and jewellery, the Ice House has created major opportunities to the North Coast Artist’s Co-operative.
“It has meant something huge to the arts community in Prince Rupert,” said Laurie Gray, president of the Ice House board.
“As artists we produce work and it’s nice to have an area where we can show the public, sell it, make some income and become professional artists. Having the gallery there has really raised the level of professionalism in presenting the art.”
Gray said they get a lot of new and emerging artists who have never shown or sold their work and talking to customers really spurs them on.
“It just encourages them to continue on to the next level,” she said.
Robin Knox is one of those artists and said, to her, the gallery has meant everything.
“Otherwise you have all these paintings at home and no one ever gets to see them. It’s just great to have people that appreciate it and make comments,” she said.
“It keeps you motivated to keep producing more art because there’s a place to exhibit it.”
The gallery has 50 artists from Haida Gwaii to Telkwa who consistently feature their work, but their customers have shifted over the last 10 years.
“We started out with a lot of cruise ship income and, since that’s dropped, we’ve really seen an increase in local support,” Gray said.
“That’s helped us to still have our doors open ten years later, so we’re very thankful for the local support.”
The Ice House also supports developing artists by giving a scholarship to a high school graduate going into art education. Gray noted the group is hosting an 8×8 auction Oct. 10 to fund that scholarship.
The Ice House is celebrating their tenth anniversary with a North Coast themed art exhibit throughout June. It will display 20 pieces that celebrate different aspects of life and nature on the North Coast, and viewers will vote on their favourite pieces to select a winner for a six month membership to the gallery.
Opening night was Friday, May 23, and the exhibition will be displayed throughout the month.
The Ice House is also inviting artists to join a studio tour Sept. 20 and 21, visiting various art studios in Prince Rupert and Port Edward.