New art gallery opens its doors in Little Current

Manitoulin Fine Arts Association president erin-blythe reddie stands by the visitor table in the North Channel Gallery located in the Northeast Town’s Artisan Incubation Centre located on the waterfront in the Port of Little Current. photo by Michael Erskine

LITTLE CURRENT—Members of the Manitoulin Fine Arts Association (MFAA) are excited about a new partnership with the Northeast Town that will see the club operate an art gallery in the town’s Artisan Incubation Centre on the waterfront in downtown Little Current.

“Last autumn Sue Cairns put out an invitation to the MFAA members to participate in the project and 11 said yes,” said MFAA member erin-blythe reddie (no capitals), whose own art is expressed in three dimensional naturescapes, textiles and wearable art.

The artist erin-blythe reddie describes the space proffered by the artisan incubation centre as a “beautiful space and a beautiful location.” The location is very well situated to be accessible to visitors to the Island, being located in the Port of Little Current, but also nicely placed for those arriving by boat or cruise ship. “Everyone will be able to see the art that is available on the Island,” she said. Not only will visitors be able to see the art, they will be able to meet many of the artists themselves, as two artists have made the commitment to be at the art show each day that it is open. “Others will be dropping in from time to time as well.”

“The town is very pleased to be able to host the North Channel Gallery in our Artisan Incubation Centre,” said Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin. “This is the very kind of partnership that we envisioned when the concept of the Artisan Incubation Centre was developed.”

The range of artists cover a wide spectrum of media and art forms, from oils and acrylics, to water colours, mixed media, textiles and pottery.

Artist Sue Cairns started painting as a hobby 10 years ago when she took a watercolour class. “It brought back wonderful memories of my youth and my early painting days,” she said. Now it has become part of who she is. Ms. Cairns paints in oils, acrylics, watercolour and will also have examples of her photography at the North Channel Gallery. Ms. Cairns currently has a piece in the Northern Ontario Art Association juried show, held each year at a different art club, where only 40 pieces are chosen. Ms. Cairns is also a regular contributor to the LaCloche Juried Art Show. 

One of the most important features of Jan McQuay’s pottery is that it is stoneware and she uses commercial glazes that are safe for dinnerware.  Ms. McQuay works mainly on the potter’s wheel, creating functional items like plates, mugs and a lot of bowls. Her photographs are all taken all across Manitoulin Island and she tries to capture the “best” of the Island in her landscapes so that “people will look at them and smile.”

Linda Jack is also inspired by Manitoulin landscapes, and her work is infused with her love of nature and animals. She works in watercolour, oil and acrylics and her enjoyment of photography has provided her with a never-ending stream of subject matter.

Artist Marcie Breit’s landscapes utilize acrylic media and she enjoys producing fairly large original paintings. She has been the proud recipient of several art awards for her work. A member the Manitoulin Fine Arts Association, the Sudbury Art Club, the Walden Art Club and the Creative Minds Art Association, her work has remained popular with patrons for several years.

As for erin-blythe reddie herself, you will find that by combining materials found on Manitoulin with her haiku poetry, her naturscapes will “invite you to pause and contemplate the ease and benefits of connecting with nature and your self.” Her solo show at the Gore Bay Museum in 2015 brought this Providence Bay artist’s works accolades and exposure to Island dwellers as well as those living internationally. Her wearable silk textile art and individually painted whimsical watercolour cards are also featured at the North Channel Gallery.

Donna Kanerva’s original art is completed in pastel, pencil and oil. She is an award winner at several juried shows, including LaCloche Art Show. Her subject matter includes horses, other animals, landscapes and florals.

Gail Meehan grew up on Manitoulin Island and has returned here during the summer months for her retirement. She works primarily in oils and acrylics and is happiest when painting the landscapes and flowers she sees around her. Her paintings have won awards in local shows and are in collections in Florida, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Paulette Soganich works in pencil, graphite, oil-based coloured pencil and ink. She creates local landscape paintings of old barns, churches and sheds and most of her inspiration comes from Manitoulin Island. It is her hope that “others can see my love of Manitoulin” in her art.  

Lorraine Loranger a multi-media artist inspired by nature’s birds, wildlife and scenic landscapes and strives to not only create impressionistic pieces but endeavours to replicate their distinctive characteristics

Judy Boyd is a self-taught artist who has been painting in watercolour and oils for over 25 years. In 2016 she showed at the Anchor Inn with Marcie Breit, Donna Kanerva and Sue Cairns on the MFAA Art Tour.

And last, but most certainly not least Petra Wall, the creator of the popular Expositor series ‘Now and Then’ prefers to work in watercolours, but has also dabbled in pen and ink and pencil sketches. In 1995 she added simple-form rock carving and photography to her repertoire. Ms. Wall has historically been drawn to the human form and has always enjoyed the spontaneity and the subtle nature of watercolours the most. Her formal training was gained through courses at the University of Edmonton and the University of Windsor as well as Sir Sandford Fleming College in Haliburton and Cambrian College. The artist participates in several Manitoulin Island shows each year. She will be including her photographs at the North Channel Gallery.

The North Channel Gallery will be open June 5, 13, 24, 26 and 30 from 9:30 am to 4 pm and each Wednesday and Saturday in July from 9 am to 4 pm and from 10:30 am to 4 pm on Fridays.