A new art gallery, the Laundromat, opens its doors in Kimberley. It will be led by Irma de Visser, who previously worked at Center 64. In the summer of 2021, she noted that Center 64 was booking monthly solo/group art exhibitions in the gallery until 2025. If a exhibition was cancelled, there was a waiting list of artists ready to fill the empty space.
Obviously there was an opportunity for another art gallery in Kimberley.
“With the large number of talented artists in Kimberley and the region and with new people continually moving to town, there is a real demand here for exhibition space, and there is not of commercial art gallery in a prime location. That is about to change,” Irma said.
Renovations began in October 2021 to transform a building that housed laundry facilities for around 50 years into its new art gallery. Irma has named her gallery “The Laundromat” and will feature some remnants of the old laundromat.
“It’s that industrial touch that helps give the space a funky and welcoming feel. Art is for everyone and it’s important that visitors feel comfortable and not be intimidated by the space, as they often do in traditional art galleries,” says Irma. “The relaxed and entertaining gallery experience at the Kimberley Art Gallery will reflect just that.”
Art Gallery Kimberley will facilitate art; represent original works of art and artists who excite Irma; and build meaningful and lasting relationships with artists, art collectors and the community. It will feature original, functional, and decorative artwork by Canadian artists while specializing in Kootenay nature, Kootenay wildlife, and Kootenay small town life. With monthly changing exhibitions and regular visual, performing and literary arts events, there are always exciting new experiences for everyone. “The Laundromat” will also be available for meetings, receptions, workshops and other events.
The official opening is scheduled for May, although there was a soft opening this month. The first exhibit is by Kimberley artist Grant Smith. This solo art exhibition will feature Grant’s latest local animal stencils and blocks, as well as his chalk drawings of pine trees from Second Butte to Wycliffe and the backyards of homes along the Rails-to-Trails of 106th street. Additionally, Grant completed artwork to support Wildsight’s mountain caribou recovery program. Part of Grant’s Art Exhibit will be a free series of introductory art demonstrations for the creative and the curious: 1. “So you always wanted to draw? Four Things Good Sketchers Already Know » 2. Capturing Your Travels in Watercolor » and 3. « The Easiest Stencil Printing Technique Ever! »
To stay up to date with what’s happening at The Laundromat, people can visit artgallerykimberley.com or thelaundromat.ca and sign up for the newsletter. The recently launched website features a small selection of artists and artworks that will be represented at Art Gallery Kimberley, with more artists soon to join the online platform.