I wanted to do a better walk around so I could really show off the talent here in Port Credit... but the gallery was crowded (awesome!) and I was late arriving, so it just didn't happen. But what a fantastic show! I am continually amazed by the diversity and quality of the work of the artists I meet here. The work was priced to sell, so I wasn't surprised to see a couple pieces had sold. I actually was surprised that more hadn't sold. This is the kind of show that really should sell out.
In 2011 we had 713,445 people in Mississauga. We have 5 dedicated art galleries, one being the public, city-run gallery, and another being the one at the University. Two of the commercial galleries don't carry the works of anyone local (that I know of... I've been following them for quite some time and have yet to see it, but I could be mistaken). That leaves one... and I've submitted my portfolio and wasn't even graced with a response. We have artist-run initiatives: Imagemaker (not counted in my tally of galleries), who keeps it's doors open by holding classes, Pazan gallery, who survives as a framing shop with a display space for the locals, and Promenade Gallery, which has some interesting events centering around the South Asian community. We also have the wonderful Visual Arts Mississauga, who offer all kinds of artists programs and also have shows in their space. I know there have been other galleries open in the past, but they have had to close their doors. I've often wondered why this is, given the amount of money that resides around here. Houses by the lake go for over a million bucks. Some way, way over. Even a condo will set you back over half a million. So there are people who can afford to have original art in their homes, yet they do not seem to buy it here. My guess is that they go into Toronto. My son has noted the same thing as a musician. There are very few venues for live music here these days. Most of the young people trek into Toronto to catch a show, because nothing much seems to happens here.
The Mississauga Arts Council is aiming to change all that. The Interim Executive Director spoke at the opening, and he had some inspiring things to say. Plans to make Mississauga residents more aware of the local talent we have. Programs to help Mississauga artists actually sell their work here. And combined with the planned conversion of the Small Arms building into a cultural hub, this should be a huge boost to the cultural community in this city. I have high expectations. I hope I'm not disappointed.
Oh and if I've missed something, please let me know in the comments! I love finding new, local spots to visit!