Whistler artists pop up on Granville Island 

Catch The Ninety Nine Collective in Vancouver until Sept. 2

click to enlarge The Ninety Nine Collective pose for a photo in their Granville Island pop-up shop. Photo submitted
  • The Ninety Nine Collective pose for a photo in their Granville Island pop-up shop. Photo submitted

Three Whistler artists are set to take over a space on Granville Island for a two-week pop-up shop.

The Ninety Nine Collective, made up of painter Allison van Gruen, artist and surface pattern designer Julie Hamilton, and jewelry maker Sarah Sladen, will have their work on display—and host a few workshops as well—until Sept. 2.

"I think I can say for all of us, we're just excited about new opportunities and meeting new people," van Gruen says. "Those two girls in particular are real chatty Cathys and it's going to be a very fun place to hang out. I hope a lot of our Whistler community might want to escape to the city and check out what we're up to."

Last November, van Gruen ran into an artist she knew through a women's creative mastermind group—focused on helping female artists gain greater gallery representation—who had a pop-up in the same spot on Granville Island.

"She was very helpful and said she'd give me the information to do my own pop-up there," van Gruen says.

She learned the space was subsidized and, therefore, not prohibitively expensive to rent, so she approached long-time friends Hamilton and Sladen about joining her.

"They immediately said yes," she adds. "I really wanted to try and branch out some more and have a wider audience and it seemed like a great opportunity to do that."

By chance, the person who runs the space worked in Whistler for many years and was intrigued by the prospect of hosting a trio of Sea to Sky artists.

"We ended up getting our first choices of dates," van Gruen says, adding they start on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and wrap up on Sept. 2.

As part of the pop-up, Hamilton and Sladen will also host workshops. "Julie is going to be offering a workshop in collage and paper cutting ... the work she's featuring at this pop-up is the work from her 100-day project she did on Instagram [featuring 100 days of making painted paper collage]," van Gruen says. "She has a really great eye for colour and different abstract botanicals and landscapes."

Sladen, meanwhile, will offer a peek into how she makes her popular sami bracelets, sewn with intricate silver thread.

"I'm the painter," van Gruen adds. "Right now my work is focused on animals. I find I'm being inspired from my travels and my backyard, actually. I don't typically draw a whole animal; I'm drawn to facial expressions. I love dogs, sheep, roosters, and owls. That's been my focus right now."

While the collective—which derives its name from Highway 99 winding through Whistler—is still in the early stages, the trio plans to keep it going after the pop-up wraps up.

"We work well together," van Gruen says. "We're friends, we have fun ... For now, we're just three friends being creative, having fun."

The Ninety Nine Collective Pop In & Shop runs daily on Granville Island (#4 – 1494 Old Bridge St.) from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. until Sept. 2.

If you're interested in one of the workshops, email van Gruen at allivg@me.com for more information.

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