The UpTown Gallery, Waterloo– an interview with Mary Guillaume

September 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

Earlier this summer, I interviewed Deborah Pryce, artist and creator of the cover art for my book Once Upon a Sandbox. When this interview took place, that piece of art was being displayed in the UpTown Gallery in Waterloo Town Square. On August 20, 2011, I interviewed Mary Guillaume, the present Chair of the UpTown Gallery, Waterloo Square, Waterloo, Ontario.

Carolyn Wilker: As Chair of this group, what part did you play in its conception?

Mary Guillaume: Podi (Pauline) Lawrence was the one who began this group. She was invited by First Gulf, the managers of this mall, to fill up an empty store space. First Gulf is a great supporter of the arts and was willing to allow the group free use of a store space, with the understanding that when there was a tenant wanting to lease the space, the company would allow us to use the space of another store when we had to move. Initially, there were about 20 artists. Podi did so much of the work that when she left the area to move to Panama, a group of us met from time to time over a few weeks to restructure. There was Glenn Ward, Eleanor McDonald, and Louise Maree and me. Laurie Spieker was the chair until last year. Deb Pryce is the Gallery Chair; Mary Lou Hiller, Card Committee; Jane Bayne is head of the Selections committee; and Nicole Waddick is in charge of Promotions. All of our artists are from this general region.

CW: How many members are there in the group?

MG: There are 24 members at this time. When people move away, we look for new artists to fill those spaces. We like to have a variety of art represented here: painting, glass work, pottery, photography, jewellery, mosaics, encaustics, fine custom furniture and fabric art. At this time we’re looking for more 3-dimensional art. Artists can apply for positions with the cooperative and are approved by a committee. [The application form includes the fees payable per month, time required to staff gallery in open store hours, and a request to be part of a committee to run the cooperative.]

CW: When I first came to the gallery to see the art, it was in a different location, across from the grocery store. I attended your grand re-opening in July; I am impressed with this space.

MG: As I mentioned before, that if a tenant wants to move into that space, the company finds us another one. When we first saw this store front, we wondered what we were going to do with the space, especially the shelves. Art in cupboard spaces— illustration by Deborah Pryce (shown in photo) for Jan Hansen’s book, Going on a Lion Hunt.

CW: You’ve put the cupboards to good use.

MG: Glenn put casters on the bottom of the (free-standing) shelves so we could move them around. We painted the whole space and put up more lighting.

CW: You also have the rooms in back that you didn’t have before.

MG: We use those three rooms as extra galleries, and have named them the ‘Lawrence’ room’, the ‘First Gulf’ room, and the ‘Patrons’ room. The large extra area behind that is what we call the BackSpace, and we will be using that for classes and workshops given by our artists.

CW: It’s nice to see my book alongside Deb’s art.

MG: It should be there.

CW Any other thoughts on being a member of this group that you’d like to share?

MG: We all like being members of the gallery and we work well together.  

CW: Thank you for your time.

MG: You’re welcome.

At the time of this posting, the gallery is displaying a new collection of art. The new showing is inviting too.     Mary Guillaume with several of her paintings   An attractive display in the gallery.

Entry filed under: artists, fine arts. Tags: , .

Want to listen to this again and again Word on the Street, Kitchener– I’ll be there

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