Sherbrooke Village Cooperative Art Gallery opens to an enthusiastic public

By Lois Ann Dort    

SHERBROOKE – Sherbrooke Village Executive Director Stephen Flemming welcomed an appreciative crowd to the grand opening of the new Sherbrooke Village Cooperative Art Gallery on Saturday under blue skies and unseasonably warm weather.

“Art is what flows through this place. The next most important piece is what’s happening here today,” said Flemming indicating the new gallery. “People are crowing about it all over the place,” he joked as a nearby rooster sounded off breaking into the welcome speech.

“Local art...now has a permanent home and is always here for visitors to see and an opportunity for local artists to sell their wares. That’s special. And this art will continue to flow through the whole theme of Sherbrooke Village and we’ll continue to build that; having more music in this place, more writer camps, experiences where people can learn about the arts—it’s all part of where we want to go,” Flemming said in his opening remarks.

Wilda Kaiser, president of the Cooperative Art Gallery spoke with The Journal as preparations for the grand opening wrapped up. She began by stating the need for a gallery in this region. “There were several artist in the District of St. Mary’s and we found that when they were looking for representation they had to go outside of our county of Guysborough to be represented by a gallery. We thought it would be a wonderful thing if we could get together and cooperatively work in a gallery setting. We approached Stephen Flemming...and we broached the subject and asked him if it would be something he was interested in for the Village and he was extremely supportive of us from the very beginning.”

A location was found within Sherbrooke Village, Cook House—an historic building that had not yet been re-purposed by the museum, and from April of last spring until this past weekend, work was done on the building to make a home for the gallery.

Currently the artists that form the cooperative are Joy Weir, Ann Eisner Stone, Bev Cameron, Muriel Elliot and Wilda Kaiser. The gallery also hosts a guest artist on a biweekly basis; the position is currently held by Jean Robichaud. The artists have differing styles and work in a variety of mediums including sculpture.

The reaction to the gallery was extremely positive among those who attended the grand opening on Saturday. Lee Leonard, a locally based artist featured this month in The Journal, attended the event and was impressed by both the space and the work found therein,“There is a lot of skilled work in there,” she said.

Ron Stansfield, a resident of nearby Port Hilford said of the gallery, “It’s fantastic the way Stephen is pushing the Village especially on the cultural side because one thing we’ve noticed since we moved to the Eastern Shore, is that there are so many artists whether they be musicians, or visual artists or crafts people; there’s all sorts of activity around here—it’s nice that somebody is drawing them into a central location...It’s good for the community. It gets more people in here, gets people thinking about doing their own artistic work.”

Just as the first wave of visitors exited the new gallery Flemming told The Journal, “We’re really pleased that this group of local artist shared their talent with folks here and this is a wonderful way to have a community museum give back, as a space, but also for the community to give back to the museum in the visitors that come here by sharing this art. I am really pleased.”

The Sherbrooke Village Cooperative Art Gallery will be open on a seasonal basis, following the schedule of the Sherbrooke Village Museum including the upcoming Old Fashioned Christmas: November 24 to November 26 and December 2 to 3.