Grand opening held for Manitoulin Makers Gallery Studio

The ladies whose works or items are displayed in the gallery include, from left, Wendy Hietkamp, Mary Anderson, erin-blythe reddie, Sharon Meeker, Lisabeth Flanagan, Ursula Hettmann and Enid Runnalls.

GORE BAY – The Manitoulin Makers Gallery Studio, which has drawn together several different artists and types of art, held its grand opening at the Harbour Centre in Gore Bay this past Saturday.

“We’ve had a really good grand opening,” said painter Enid Runnalls, manager of the Manitoulin Makers Gallery. “There have been a lot of people visiting our new gallery today.”

Along with Ms. Runnalls with her display of paintings and Manitoulin tea towel collection, Manitoulin Makers also includes Ursula Hettmann with her jewelery, textiles and eco-printing on fabric and the ceramic works of her daughter Anje; Sharon Meeker with her hand-sketched crafted bookmaking, Wendy Hietkamp with her soaps, candles, lotions and knitting; erin-blythe reddie with her greeting cards; and Mary Anderson with her fibre arts and pet portraits. As well, delicious chocolate bars are also on hand from Lisabeth Flanagan of Ultimately Chocolate.

“We’re having a lot of fun,” said Ms. Runnalls. She explained, “I started painting a few years ago, about five years ago, as a way to decompressand as an empty nester looking for something to do to fill my time.”
“Then, after I retired from teaching in June (2018), this studio became available in the Harbour Centre and I had an idea that we could open a studio with a group of artists displaying their work,” explained Ms. Runnalls, “and to have workshops and produce art. Myself? I paint, sketch and draw and do commissions—if people have a favourite scene or photo they can bring it in and I can paint it for them.”

“This is a beautiful place to work; the Harbour Centre atmosphere lends itself to creativity,” said Ms. Runnalls. “And the other business owners and vendors here have been welcoming, helpful and encouraging. They are also promoting creativity. And our neighbours from across the street at Split Rail Brewing have been wonderfully supportive as well. They are holding an event today and at the same time they gave a shout out on their website about the opening we are having here today, which is fantastic.”

“This whole area of town has become a great place for people to visit, where you can have a drink at Split Rail, something to eat at Buoy’s Restaurant, a place to show and look at artwork in the Harbour Centre and the Marine Museum upstairs, and the vendors throughout the Harbour Centre, have an ice cream at CYC (Canadian Yacht Charters) or have a swim at the beach. This area is becoming a real destination area in Gore Bay.”

“And the other vendors and businesses here have been very helpful, and always there when we needed something in getting this studio opened,” said Ms. Runnalls. “And it was Nicole Weppler who brought all the businesses and artists into the Harbour Centre.”

Ms. Runnalls noted that while she was teaching at C.C. McLean Public School in Gore Bay, “the last couple of years I helped lead an art club, where students in Grades 4-8 would be able to work on art during recess. The students made a beautiful mural in co-operation with 4E Living Arts and the kids inspired me do my own art. Becoming a painter took sort of a natural progression.”