New Denver’s Hidden Garden Gallery

New Denver’s Hidden Garden Gallery

Hidden Garden: experience a hidden gem of a gallery

On a fine summer day, visitors to the gallery can enjoy not only the art on the walls but also the small meditative garden found within. Curled inside the gallery’s courtyard, the garden provides an intimate space for live music on opening night.

  • Jul. 26, 2011 5:00 a.m.

By Claire Paradis/Special to the Arrow Lakes News

Nestled in the heart of historic New Denver, the Hidden Garden Gallery offers up a bounty of fine art treasures.

The Hidden Garden Gallery will be presenting nearly a dozen artists this summer whose works run the gamut from painting to photography to textiles and beyond.

On a fine summer day, visitors to the gallery can enjoy not only the art on the walls but also the small meditative garden found within. Curled inside the gallery’s courtyard, the garden provides an intimate space for live music on opening night.

The gallery was begun eleven years ago, the initiative of Rosalie Bird, a Kootenay textile artist, who wanted to create a centre for the community where local artists could show their work.

“I really wanted it not to be an elite thing, for trained artists only,” said Bird, “We’re all artists; we just need to find our medium.”

It was rough in the beginning. Anne Champagne remembered the refuse that was heaped in the yard where the garden now grows.

Both Rosalie Bird and Burgin Jacobs, another key figure in the gallery’s development,  are master gardeners, Champagne said, they transformed the junk pile into a beautiful garden.

With the combined efforts of Jana Schellenberg, Bird and Jacobs, in combination with volunteers from the community, the building became The Hidden Garden Gallery. The counter and kitchen area were made with donated materials and volunteer labour, said Champagne.

Bird’s idea behind the gallery beyond creating an enticing place in the community was to support creative people in the area so they were able to earn a living and stay in the Kootenays.

Eleven years later, exhibitors at the gallery still only pay a small rental fee and have no commission taken from the sale of their work, an unheard of practice in the art world.

The Hidden Garden Gallery has received a few Columbia Basin Trust and Recreation grants throughout the years for major renovations, and any work needed is usually done by volunteers.

Quilting squares are currently being sold as part of a fundraiser. Each square is ten dollars, and purchasers are encouraged to print a message on their square which will then become part of a community quilt.

There is a dedicated core of volunteers who run the gallery and make up the gallery’s board of directors. This year, there are eight people that make up the very active board.

Because there is so much happening, the board members double up on responsibilities in order to ensure everything gets done.

There is a lot to do, as the Hidden Garden Gallery gets about four thousand people visiting each year, said Champagne.

In the summer, there are usually 10 to 11 shows per year, each roughly a week in duration. The season usually includes the very popular late June show of works created by the Lucerne Elementary classes.

The Gallery also puts on a lecture series called “Food For Thought” where local people with expertise in a certain field give a talk.

These lectures have become so popular the have outgrown the gallery’s humble building and are now held at Knox Hall (521 Sixth Avenue).

The next lecture is “The Genetics of Common Human Birth Defects” and will take place July 30 at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the lecture series, contact Anne Champagne at annec@green-words.ca.

During the winter months, the gallery rents space to the community for tai chi classes, meditation sittings, and film screenings for the low rate of five dollars an hour.

The Hidden Garden Gallery is also working on a new website which will be launching in August. Interested folks will be able to find information about rental rates, show dates, and lectures at hiddengardengallery.ca.

For more information about the gallery, contact Eleanor Spangler at spangler@netidea.com.