Kariton Gallery gets a facelift

For its 40th birthday, the Kariton Art Gallery and Boutique received a make-over from the City of Abbotsford.

Painter Terry Schuetz works on the first coat of new paint along the back of Kariton Gallery. A new deck on the longtime arts gallery will be used for concerts in the park

Painter Terry Schuetz works on the first coat of new paint along the back of Kariton Gallery. A new deck on the longtime arts gallery will be used for concerts in the park

For its 40th birthday, the Kariton Art Gallery and Boutique received a make-over from the City of Abbotsford.

With a fresh coat of paint, an outdoor stage, a new box office and an arts resource centre in the works, the Abbotsford Arts Council is hoping to create an arts hub in Mill Lake Park.

Nina Corrie with the Arts Council is confident that the building’s new fire-engine red colour, which can be seen from the street, will draw people in.

Located at 2387 Ware Street, the free gallery will also be easier to differentiate from Trethewey House, which is next door.

“Before, people would think we were a house and would walk up, peer in the window, and step back, unsure if they should come in,” said Corrie. “I think now people will know we’re open for business and that we want them to come in.”

This summer, the new stage is going to host the popular Envision Coffee House Series, which will be re-titled the Envision Concert in the Park Series.

In the past, the shows have been held in coffee shops across town.

Hosting the performance outdoors eliminates the space constraints while offering a family friendly environment, said Corrie. Her vision is to have hundreds of blankets spread across the lawn.

The first outdoor event is on June 18. The performances will run every Saturday until Sept. 3. Then they’ll return indoors for the winter.

During the afternoon, vendors will be selling everything from jewelry to pottery. And during the performances, which will run from 4-6 p.m., the coffee house that sponsors the act will be selling drinks and treats.

As the stage will be free on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, the Arts Council is calling for local buskers to perform, including anything from mimes, dancers, puppet theatre, to singers, said Corrie.

Another new addition to the gallery is a box office.  Tickets will be sold for events hosted by member groups of the Arts Council.

“This provides them with a way to reach a new audience. People will come in to see the visual arts, but perhaps they will be intrigued by performances as well,” said Judy Whyte, executive director of the Arts Council. “We want to represent all of the arts in Abbotsford, which is why we have the boutique, box office, stage and gallery.”

For more information on Kariton Art Gallery, which is free to enter, visit www.abbotsfordartscouncil.org or call 604-852-9358.