The Main Gallery & Framing Studio is set to close its doors at the end of April.
Current owner June Lundie, who took over the operation almost one year ago, said it’s just been too hard to keep things going even with several community and educational programs being added to the mix.
This Saturday, April 28th, clearance sales will continue at the studio which will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Formerly known at The Gallery on Main, the business was originally located in the downtown core but had later relocated to its current site.
The name change was also adopted when Lundie bought the business last spring.
More than 50 artists are typically featured in the gallery, and the styles on display have always covered an array of genres from the more traditional to distinctly contemporary.
She had also hoped to establish special art retreats for various weekends through the season.
Lundie, who is certainly is sad to have to move on from the business, said on the bright side that it’s been an inspiration and a joy meeting with the artists and the patrons who regularly stop by for a visit and to check out the latest pieces.
“The grand opening last September was a fantastic hit,” she explained during a recent interview. “So I thought I was going to have these galas, and I was going to go all out.”
But attendance at special events turned out to be dismal.
In November, she invited an artist from Calgary to be her featured artist for a few special events.
Lundie planned catering, made some special dishes, and planned a special series of events. Only a handful of people came out, unfortunately.
She knew then that things weren’t looking promising.
“That was it. That was the sign,” she said, adding that there were no more art receptions planned after that.
“The bottom line is that mostly I feel sad for the artists. I can recover — this was a dream of mine and I have no regrets at all. I would have regretted not buying it,” she said, adding that in many ways, it’s been an educational experience as well.
“I’ve met a lot of great people in town and with the artists themselves. I also have a greater appreciation for small business owners — that is huge.
“It’s a struggle to own a small business,” she said. “It’s your finances on the line. It’s huge. That was an education in and of itself.”
Looking ahead, there is some good news to celebrate.
“One of my framers, Leanne Pruden, bought Judy’s Frames, and she’s going to move it a block and a half away right behind McDonald’s, and it’s going to be called the Artisan Frame Studio. It starts May 1st. I’m really excited for her.”
Meanwhile, looking ahead, she’s got plenty to keep herself busy – besides being an artist herself, Lundie and her family run a gluten-free farm operation east of town as well. She had been involved with the Lacombe Art Guild for several years also.
Other past work has seen her involved with sales and working extensively with people, so both those experiences had made taking ownership of the gallery that much more of a natural fit.
Another section of the studio – Art Alley – had been set aside for folks to explore their creativity and expand their ‘artistic horizons’. Birthday parties were held in the space as well.
Prior to Lundie taking the reins, the gallery was owned by Laverne Jones for about 10 years even though it had actually been operational for about 20 years.
Over the years, the business had also built up an exceptional reputation for quality and of course an extensive collection as well.