Busy plans for Fine Line Art Gallery

Ken Kellar
Staff Writer

Even as the weather outside begins to wind down for winter, inside the Fine Line Art Gallery there are plenty of goings-on to keep everyone in town busy.

There are still a few days left to catch Jean Richards’ artist spotlight. This long-time member of the gallery is having a black and white show that will highlight the progression of her artistic stylings and many of her works from over the years.

“It’s a black and white show from the 80’s when my time in the art world started. It started with pencil,” Richards said. “It’s gone from pencil to oils to watercolours and acrylics. Here I am 40 years later, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

The change to the usual policy of having open houses accompany many of the events held at the gallery is a direct result of COVID-19, though Richards noted that most of the visitors to the gallery have been very respectful of other COVID restrictions.

“People have been so good,” she said.

Richards’ show will only be running to the end of the month, so Halloween day will be the last day to stop in and see her journey through the art world, but Richards said that she will make an effort to be at the gallery every day her show is on in order to be available to chat with anyone who might have questions or just want to discuss her art with her.

“There will be no open house but there could be little surprises,” she said.

“We can’t have open houses, you can’t serve food or whatever but I will try to be here every day for those two weeks.”

Following the end of Richards’ exhibit, the gallery will waste no time in transitioning to its annual silent auction. While there has been a lot of consideration put into running the auction this year, Richards said the gallery felt that with a few modifications they could hold a safe event.

“We thought we’d go ahead with the silent auction as usual,” she said.

“We are going to be very careful. There will only be three people allowed in at a time, masks are available if they don’t have one, hand sanitizer will be located throughout the store. And people have been really good.”

As always, donations to the auction are gratefully accepted by the gallery, and the proceeds of the auction will be shared with a local charity, though Richards said they usually decide which charity to support after the auction has wrapped up. In past years the Fine Line Art Gallery has donated money to the Salvation Army, local soup kitchens and the Bear Clan Patrol.

Bidding on silent auction items at the gallery will begin on November 1 and run to November 15, giving art aficionados plenty of time to stop by and potentially win the next conversation starter for their home.

One might think that two back-to-back events would be enough to tide over anyone, especially as Christmas starts to loom large on the horizon, but the Fine Line Art Gallery will still have one more significant event in store, following the end of the silent auction in mid-November.

“We’ll be holding our Christmas Extravaganza after the silent auction,” Richards said.

“We’ve been doing it for years, so we’ll be doing it as usual. We’re accepting entries starting November 16 and we’ll run to the end of December. Again, due to COVID we will not be having an open house. The Extravaganza is open to all artists and artisans and crafters, because some crafts are really neat.”

Any artists who are interested in being part of the Christmas Extravaganza can drop off their artwork or craft beginning on November 16, and like in years past there is a $25 fee for entry, and 20 percent of the proceeds go to the Fine Line Art Gallery. As COVID impacts the open house and the number of visitors allowed in at a time, Richards said they’ve tweaked this year’s Christmas Extravaganza to make it as successful as possible.

“We made the whole extravaganza longer,” she said.

“Usually it would be near the end of November because we would have the Christmas open house, but there’s none of that this year, so we’ve opened it up so that everything will be here for a month and a half rather than just a month.”

Additionally, and for each of these events, the gallery has extended its Saturday hours of operation from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with its weekday hours remaining 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., offering everyone a bit more time in the week to stop in and see what’s going on.

“We extended Saturday till four because we’ve had a lot of people looking,” Richards said.

“We had one woman come in and she was here for quite a while, and then she said ‘well, I’ve got my Christmas presents all picked out, now I just have to come back with the money.’”