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Art Unique came about from casual discussion between Pauline Owens and Ruth Draper. They both belonged to the South Simcoe Palette Club and painted together in several different media.
Plans began in the fall of 2003 when space became available at 2 Queen Street in Cookstown. We decided that if we were going to have a gallery, the time had come. Working most of the winter remodeling the store, we had our official opening on April 2nd, 2004. Mayor Brian Jackson, Deputy Mayor Barbara Baguley and Councillor Lynn Dollin were there to support the gallery opening.
At that time we only had the art of Pauline and Ruth. During the next month, several artists asked if we would take their work on consignment. By summer, we had about fifteen artists in the gallery. The summer and fall went very well.
In February 2005, we featured the photographs of Carol Roberts from Alliston, and had a very successful showing.
In March we decided we needed more space, and we moved to 7 Queen Street. By this time we had about twenty artists and added the jewellery of Pauline’s daughter Elizabeth Kobelka.
We had an unbelievable summer and fall and continued with several successful feature artist shows. By this time we had about thirty local artists with a great variety of work. All of the art had to be originals.
The winter of 2006 was very quiet and the spring did not pick up very much. We decided to close the gallery on Queen Street on Aug. 27, 2006.
During the two and a half years on Queen Street, we sold 176 paintings. We also sold thousands of dollars of jewellery and pottery.
We knew we would miss the contact with the public and the great artists that we had come to know, so to keep this relationship going we decided to open a gallery in the home of Ruth and Bill Draper.
The area had been a show room for Ruth’s art as well as antiques for some years but it needed to be renovated for the gallery.
Our son, Wayne Draper built three windows and a door where the garage doors had been. The inside already had a heated floor and was dry walled, but improvements had to be made. New paint, an epoxy floor and more light fixtures changed the space into a bright, pleasant space in which to display art.
We opened in Dec. 2006 so customers could see our Christmas gifts.
Closing for part of February and March to go to Florida to take some courses and check out the galleries in the Orlando area, we reopened on March 29th,2007 with an Opening Gala. Awards were given to Jack Hendy for selling the most paintings (20) during the time on Queen Street. Diane Soward had sold 19 and Marlene Bulas 18. Pauline Owens, my partner had sold 17 and I had sold 11.
Elizabeth Kobelka had sold many pieces of her fashion jewellery and I sold many pieces of pottery, especially the new line of stoneware pottery with glazes that I mixed myself called sand and water.
We had great support from our local newspapers with each one doing a story and pictures. Susan Stein from the Scope, Miriam King from the Bradford-West Gwillimbury Times and Brian Lockhart from the Alliston Herald were here to spread the word. Their help is very much appreciated.
This web site is an attempt to let customers know what we have to offer and we hope everyone will come to see the gallery in person.
This page © Copyright 2010, Ruth Draper