A Squamish gallery going places 

Newport Gallery wants to be the new heart of art

It really does ring true sometimes that everything old is new again. Did you know that Squamish was once known as Newport? Back in 1912 some real estate entrepreneurs decided a catchier name than Squamish was needed to bring tourists (and investors) to the region. So despite Squamish being the name of a local Indian tribe and meaning ‘mother of the wind,’ the town became known as Newport. Not exactly a nod to our native heritage and suffice to say was never popular with the locals.

A few years later, the P.G.E. Railway held a contest to select another new name and the winner was ironically the old name, Squamish.

Fast forward to 2003 and Squamish now has a new gallery with the old town name – The Newport Gallery – and this new fixture wants to become the heart of art in the Sea to Sky corridor.

"The name Newport was ascribed in order to represent both our past and our future, when world travellers will once again experience the Vancouver to Whistler journey by travelling the Howe Sound by sea, and arriving at the Newport at Squamish," said Newport Gallery manager, Rose-Marie Carreras.

The Newport Gallery took up the space vacated by the Outpost Gallery, which cleared out last year due to a loss of tourist traffic in the downtown.

"Especially since the Royal Hudson was re-routed," said Carreras. "The loss of the Outpost was a loss to the community, not because the people needed a place to come to purchase art, but because they need a place to see and experience art."

Located in the heart of downtown Squamish, on Cleveland Avenue, the Newport Gallery showcases two artists each month, and is home to many residents. The upper gallery supports a new music studio, with regular lessons in a variety of instruments on offer.

On exhibit this month is work by Ursula Wegmueller and Brian Scott. Wegmueller’s work melds old world fabric art (sewing and stitching patchworks) with new techniques (cut and glue). Her landscapes appear as translucent watercolours. The fabrics bring dimension, texture and feel into the mix. She is widely collected in Switzerland and Germany.

"Visitors to our gallery, are absolutely amazed at the Wegmueller collection," said Carreras. "Art aficionados have never seen any thing like it. An inspiration to all landscape lovers and fabric artists. A trip into Squamish to view this work, is definitely worth it."

Brian Scott is showing a series of paintings highlighting B.C., giving particular emphasis to the province’s colourful history within the beautiful landscapes. Scott also writes the stories behind the picture – whether it’s the run down canneries at Prince Rupert, the road houses of the Cariboo gold rush, fishing on the Fraser River, or the coal mining on Vancouver Island, which is also the subject of his first book.

Creative workshops are proving a big hit at the Newport. Next up is a class on dying with natural Indigo and making design patterns with two resist techniques. Magical Blue is on Saturday, June 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call 604-892-1080 or visit the Newport Gallery Web site: www.newportgallery.net . The course costs $85 including materials and lunch.

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