June 11, 2008

Brackendale Art Gallery

So I was looking through my photos today and came across a whole bunch of pictures we took on our visit to the Brackendale Art Gallery last summer. I'd meant to post them and give the place a bit of a plug and then forgot. A true shame and a bad oversight. Nevermind, the gallery is still there and, if I know Thor, the curator, probably boasting several new things since last year.

And, since summer is almost here, at least in spirit if not in weather, and some folks may be doing a bit of traveling through this supernatural province of ours, I figure it's a good time even now to tell about this place.

R and I first came across the gallery 20 years ago, newly moved to Squamish. We'd just returned to BC following a couple of years of vagabonding around Arizona and California and we got the impulse to go looking for some art culture one sunny Sunday. Our hunt led us to Brackendale, just north of Squamish, and to Thor and his gallery where, two hours and a couple of kickass espressos later, we'd been conscripted to provide some free labour. Thor was in the middle of getting several of his huge (roughly 6 foot round) highway signs painted and he needed man-power.

He said something along the lines of: "You're living in a dinky Squamish apartment; come and breathe some fresh Brackendale air for a couple of weeks", gave us the keys to his kingdom, took his wife Dorte away for a two-week vacation, and left us with 5 signs, a shed-full of paint, and more than enough food and coffee to last us the duration of the work. He also left his precocious dog, Bracky, and an orange tomcat named Dale, who was so old he drooled acid, for company.

That was the beginning. Over the following couple of years R and I put in some more time and labour and learned a lot of life lessons from Thor and Dorte. Years have passed; we've been away from Squamish for 18 years. New recruits have painted new signs I'm sure. But Thor, Dorte, and the gallery, are going as strong as ever and they are definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. The espresso is still as good as ever, the ambiance is warm, and Thor is a character straight out of fiction.

Here's a picture of the trip up, along the Sea to Sky highway:

The entrance to the gallery and Thor and Dorte, the curators:

This is a picture of the chapel, added only a couple of years ago. The chapel is non-denominational; icons representing different world religions live happily side by side.

And these are the latest additions: a recovery station for wounded bald eagles and a Tolkienesque eagle observation tower. Each year, Brackendale is host to hundreds of bald eagles who come there to nest.

Finally, here's a picture of a piece of the "casting wall", where people who have contributed to the gallery in some way over the years are represented.

Valdy, David Suzuki, Paul Horn, Robert Watson, and several west coast artists are captured in stone. Some non-famous people are there too of course, including, top row center, R and me:

1 comment:

Eraethil said...

Sounds like a very cool place, but now I'm afraid to visit, in case we get conscripted! LOL