It is a knell to the art culture of Rossland as news that the Rouge Gallery will be closing later this month.
The gallery has been open in Rossland since September 2008 and is located in the old BMO building opposite Ferraro Foods.
Roberta Post said it’s a sad time for everyone; gallery members, the board of directors and herself.
“A series of events led to the decision to close,” Post said. “Partly a reduction in the number of members, partly the cost of operation vs the income, and partly the ongoing construction. Eventually, it seemed that closing was the most realistic decision.”
Post noted that the Rouge Gallery has a history in the community that spans several years.
She noted that it began in 2005 with an idea from Louise Drescher, who gathered together several other local artists and opened a gallery at the Old Firehall, prior to it being developed into condos and a wine bar.
Post said this was a successful venture, hosting exhibitions of local professional artists, and using the space for other public events, such as children’s art shows, district high schools’ art shows, Best of the Basin art show, and various fundraisers for the community, along with a writers story awards and photograph exhibits, to name a few.
These ventures were handled by dedicated volunteers, and it is through their work that the gallery succeeded, Post said.
“Following that, the members opened a gallery in the store that is currently occupied by the knitting/wool store, and again was very successful due to the dedication of the volunteers,” she said.
The gallery continued in that location until September 2010, when a majority of the gallery members voted to take the opportunity presented to them to move to the old Bank of Montreal main floor space.
Members of the gallery, along with landlord Fletcher Quince pitched in to clear out the old bank building and get it ready for use as a gallery.
Post said it was around this time that the gallery leadership decided to seek an administrator to do the day-to-day work of running the gallery, giving the artists the time to produce their beautiful work.
Post remembers the time fondly.
“The past two years have had their ups and downs, but I believe that the ups outnumbered the downs,” she said. “The Rouge Gallery continued to contribute their space for fundraisers, children’s and youth art shows, rehearsal space for the Rossland Glee Club, to name just a few again. As well, we put on a concert series for two seasons, with professional visiting and local musicians, which had some success of its own.
“It is unfortunate that this is now lost to the community, but it is hoped that the Rouge will re-establish itself in the future; I hope it is in the near future.”