Beneath the hubbub of the pub, there’s a beach of sorts. With marine-coloured walls and sand-coloured hanging slats, and some driftwood shelving, you can almost hear waves lapping at your feet.
The Catching Stars Gallery, which opened in May, is the latest venture from local artists, Pauulet Hohn, Marie Neys and Emilie Kaplun.
The co-operative, currently featuring 28 artists, offers everything from oil paintings, to leatherwork to jewelry – though it’s all rooted in nature.
“Our mission was to create a location where local artists could have a permanent installation of their work” says Neys.
The trio wants to make sure the majority of sales go back to artists, while keeping the business viable. While most artists are from Bowen, Hohn, Neys and Kaplun have curated some works from off-island artists to fill out the gallery. But the demand for gallery space is there. “We already have a waiting list,” says Kaplun.
To complement the gallery, Neys does framing in the back of the shop.
“People even come over from Vancouver for framing,” says Neys who is also an oil painter, with a background in marketing, “and then people stop as they’re on their way to the back.”
Hohn does mosaic work, and is constantly collecting glass and found items for her work.
“I love that hunt,” she says.
Kaplun is part-time curator of Bowen Island Arts Council, and among other artistic disciplines, makes jewelry.
The gallery is the culmination of years of work and dreams for all three women.
“I wanted to be selling art in the cove,” says Neys, who, like her business partners, had previously been selling art in Artisan Square.
So when the below-pub store space became available in 2016 a lease was quickly signed. “We were very excited when the opportunity arose,” says Hohn.
Today, three star-like chandeliers hang from the roof of the gallery. They represent the three dreams that came together in Catching Stars.
Ever the artist, “I’m a strong believer in the power of three,” says Neys.
The gallery’s Grand Opening Party is Saturday, June 23 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Regular gallery hours are Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.