This year the Station House Gallery is celebrating 100 years since the construction of the Station House with a wide variety of exhibits, fundraisers and new programs.
The Station House started its life in 1919 as a simple station house for the then small town of Williams Lake, built by the Pacific Great Eastern Railway. It remains the oldest standing structure in the lakecity by far and has been preserved since the 1970s by the Station House Studio and Gallery Society.
Now most commonly used as an artists’ retreat and venue, the Station House continues to be a central hub for Williams Lake’s culture and artistic scene. By always striving to bring something new to the city that was built around it, its continued to remain a fresh and interesting pillar of the community.
This desire to bring new and different art is inherent in the gallery’s 100th-year lineup, as executive Diane Toop laid out. Toop has been with the gallery since 1996 and said this year they’ve filled 2019’s lineup with 16 unique exhibitions and plan to have live music at every gallery opening they can this year.
In addition to the usual exhibits, Toop is looking to bring new ways to experience art to both the community and the members of the Station House Gallery Society.
“We’re planning to do an art tour in people’s homes. We’re going to be putting a request out to members and people in the community if they would like to have, some of our members, coming through their homes and looking at their art collections,” Toop explained.
This program is still in the early stages, however, and will only be open to member’s of the society and their guests. In October, meanwhile, Toop said the Station House has a big fundraiser planned but said she’s keeping the details a mystery for now.
“We’re planning to have an exhibition in the upper gallery, during the summer, that will celebrate this building and its 100 years of being kind of the meeting place and cornerstone of art and culture in the community,” Toop said. “But its been more then that, I think it’s really meant a lot to a lot of people. Its an important part of our history and it needs to be celebrated.”
Toop plans to talk with members of the Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin about the exhibit and bring in some historical items related to the Station House.
“I’d just like to say thank you to the people of Williams Lake who really for the last decade have stepped up to the plate and helped us promote our shows, looked after us and supported us,” Toop said. “We welcome new members and new people all the time.”
As always, admission will be totally free to the public and Toop encouraged people to buy items for their shops as it all goes towards supporting local artists.
The schedule, along with some comments from Toop, is as follows:
February 8 to 28
• Lower Gallery: Janice Sich- Making Faces
A Kelowna based oil painter, Sich explores humans emotions with detailed close-ups of peoples faces. Toop describes her show as being “a spoof on selfies” with an emphasis on expressionism.
• Upper Gallery: Kevin Easthope- Lessons In Indigenous-Settler Relations
Easthope is a local Cariboo artist who uses his art to examine the historical relationships between indigenous peoples and settlers in Canada post-1876.
March 8 to 30
• Lower Gallery: Daniel Pfister- Wishing Stone
The elegance and simplicity of nature is the focus for Pfister’s work as he explores various natural objects and scenes that have crossed his path.
• Upper Gallery: Michelle Gazeley- Out of the Blooms
Feminine power is the cornerstone of this unique floral exhibit, with hidden stenciled messages in each flower arrangement.
April 5 to 27
• Lower Gallery: Cariboo Potters Guild- Playful Nature: Clay Explorations
The guild explores the playfully explores the lighthearted and whimsical side of nature that surrounds us all in this exhibit.
• Upper Gallery: Keith Prestone- Birds of Prey
The strength, beauty but ultimate fragility of these avians are explored through this exhibit. Toop said that Prestone’s show is quite different then anything else the gallery has had before.
May 3 to 25
• Lower Gallery: Jeff Wilson- Wolf Willow
Small town life in South West Saskatchewan is celebrated in this collection of acrylic based large scale paintings.
Upper Gallery: A Group Show Curated by Beth Holden- Into the Forest
Holden and a variety of collaborating artist plan to tantalize the viewers of this exhibit with the recreation of a Cariboo forest, with a goal of making the viewer like an integral piece of the woods.
June 7 to 29
• Lower Gallery: Cariboo Art Society- Abstracted Colour
Exaggeration and the use of contrasting styles fuels this joint exhibits between society members in an all mediums gallery with a focus on the value of colour.
Upper Gallery: Arimathea Pappas- Spirit Awakening
Pappas explores the human soul through an amalgamation of ceramics and natural materials like wood.
July 5 to August 31
Both Galleries- Uncover It!
This year’s open call for entry is themed around the idea of creating a piece of art based around an album cover that speaks to the artist. Anyone from the community can submit art for this show, which Toop encourages wholeheartedly. The completed pieces will be displayed alongside the album art that inspired them, showing the public the result of the creative process an artist goes through when given visual stimulation and turns it into something entirely new.
September 6 to 28
• Lower Gallery: Marilyn Dickson and Melanie Desjardines- Lost and Found
Dickson and Desjandres are related and together worked to convey their respective inner voices and artistic styles to form a unified single abstract exhibition.
• Upper Gallery: Bryan Austerberry- The Resurgence of Pencil Art
An artist hailing from Sulphurous Lake, Austerberry hopes to inspire artists and people of all ages to pick up their pencils once and more draw with his own variety of pencil drawings.
October 4 to 26
• Lower Gallery: James Savage- Everything is Shining
As environmental changes deepen, Savage portrays the mystery and transcendence of such events using magic realism, lush colours and glowing light and dark contrasts.
• Upper Gallery: Rick Blacklaws and Gary Kennedy – Fraser River Encaustics
Photography and encaustics combine in a unique way for this exhibit. Using photos Blacklaws has taken of the Fraser River as a base, Kennedy has applied hot beeswax to each picture, giving them an ethereal and wholly unique feel. Toop herself has never seen this technique used on pictures before and said the results should be interesting.
November 1 to 23
• Both Galleries: Cathie Allen – The Unsung Beauties in my Garden
Allen takes an unusual approach by showcasing, through art, the unsung flowers found in her vegetable garden like carrot tops, potato flowers and other plants not typically represented by artists.