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Bittersweet goodbye for The Bellevue Gallery
After eight years serving Dundarave's art community, The Bellevue Gallery is closing its doors on Monday.
Lynn Ray, the gallery's owner and executive director, is retiring and couldn't find someone to continue the artistic space.
"The most difficult part of closing is realizing we created a space for people to come that made them feel warm and welcome, while offering creative and intellectual stimulation," says Ray, who has been in contact with dozens of artists and clients who are sad to see the gallery go.
Focusing on "contemporary fine art," the gallery gave a voice to experimentation in printmaking, drawing, photography, painting and sculpture.
The list of highlights is long, says Ray as she recited dozens of important shows that come to mind.
The Bellevue Gallery's first exhibit, Scarcity and Abundance, featured photography from West Vancouver residents who travelled to the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
The next year the gallery exhibited Hope Abundant, a follow up to Scarcity and Abundance, which focused on the efforts of Food for the Hungry Canada and Capilano Church to bring education, a medical facility and a church to a small village in Uganda.
Keeping an eye on other galleries in North and West Van, Ray noticed a void in the local arts scene before opening the gallery.
"Support for contemporary fine art was not as established on the North Shore as other art forms and we believed there was an audience for it," she recalls.
Over the years, The Bellevue Gallery put on a new show nearly once a month, including hosting work done by four-year-olds from Chelsea House Preschool and discussing literature and art with Canyon Heights elementary students during Pari Azarm Motamedi's exhibit Painted Literature.
Ray says each of the gallery's art directors, Nicole MacDougall (Ray's daughter), Meghan Doyle and Robyn Yager, have contributed something unique to the business.
"Overall, The Bellevue Gallery strived to offer a warm and welcoming place for people to grow, be nurtured and appreciate all aspects of life with a fine art influence," she says, tracing back nearly a decade of memories.
The gallery's current exhibit Reflections of Typography is on until July 15 and the space will go up for lease at the end of the month.