By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The Oshawa Art Association’s Gallery 67 will soon be moving into its new home.
The gallery opened up a pop-up at the Holiday Inn Express in June 2017 and the artist-run project offered a chance for Oshawa artists to not only showcase their work but get experience volunteering in the gallery as well.
But as Councillor Rick Kerr, a driving force behind the creation of the gallery, notes the inn was never meant to be a permanent location.
“The point of a pop up like that is to show off the space and warm it up,” Kerr says. “They got 15 months out of it. Everything was going very well and I knew there was something coming down the line.”
The space previously used by Gallery 67 will now be permanently leased by a “well-known restaurant chain,” according to Kerr.
Only a few days after the association announced it was leaving the Holiday Inn Express, Kerr says a deal was made with the owner of the McLaughlin Square Business & Professional Centre to take over two commercial units in the lower area of the building.
McLaughlin Square is located at 55 William Street and 50 Richmond Street in downtown Oshawa.
“I got the board to go in yesterday afternoon [Oct. 9]. They said it’s fabulous, and they have shook on it,” Kerr said proudly.
Mary Gartlan, president of the Oshawa Art Association says she was overwhelmed when the owners of McLaughlin Square “graciously provided the space for us.”
“We have a community angel,” Gartlan says.
With now having two units, Gartlan says they will be able to provide their workshops in one area, and the other will serve as the gallery space in the future.
“Workshops will be the priority for the time being moving forward,” Gartlan says.
Gartlan says they have already begun the move, and it will be a few weeks until things are up and running on the gallery side.
They will have less space, 3,800 sq. ft, down from 5,600 sq. ft. at the previous location, but both Kerr and Gartlan believe this will better serve their needs.
“You can almost say the space at the Holiday Inn was verging on too much,” Kerr says.
Gartlan believes the smaller space will “also provide a little more of a closer atmosphere within the artisan community.”
Kerr says the new spot also offers more appropriate lighting for the gallery and there is more parking available at McLaughlin Square.
Although she is excited about this new step, Gartlan was full of praise concerning the partnership with the inn.
“Personally, I would love to thank them immensely for the graciousness of donating the space, and providing us with the opportunity to become better known in the community,” she says.
The association was established 51 years ago, and according to Gartlan, is “constantly trying to reach out to the community and let them know we are around.”
“We have a strong skill base of very talented artists within our area, and we all have so much to share and to teach and show the community. I’d like to think of us as part of the Ying to the Yang of the community.”
As a non-profit organization, the association is seeking licensed tradespeople to offer their expertise to assist with some plumbing and electrical requirements in the new units.
They also welcome volunteers for their board of directors, and students looking to complete their required hours for graduation.
As with their last location, McLaughlin Square is not meant to be a permanent location for Gallery 67.
“I think this will be a business magnet for the McLaughlin Square concourse,” Kerr says.
Those interested in lending a hand can contact Gartlan at 905-576-7693 or firstname.lastname@example.org.