Irricana is home to a new community venture.
Grasshopper Gallery, located in a historical building on Main Street, is an art co-op complete with retail space, studios and classrooms. Now open, the store features antiques, giftware, collectibles and art, some of which will be the work of local painters, sculptors and other artists.
According to Brenda Campbell, Irricana Economic Development officer, the gallery will help complement the already existing arts and culture aspect of the town. She is also hoping to attract more visitors.
“We have a bit of a start to an arts and culture component to our community with the Old Smokey statue, the murals, the painted fire hydrants, the Theatre Society and the revolving art exhibit at the library,” said Campbell. “We are hoping to share what we have started with the community and visitors. Hopefully, it will help enhance our tourism.”
Canadians Badlands Limited, an organization that seeks to develop the area as a major tourism destination, helped get the project off the ground. It gave the community $20,000 in development funding for renovations and to help operate the gallery for the next year.
The 90-year-old building has historical significance for the town as it was originally an automotive shop and gas station owned by long-time mayor of Irricana, Pat Patterson.
According to Campbell, the renovations, which included cleaning inside and out, painting and installing countertops, were possible because of community volunteers. Community donations also helped furnish the gallery.
“As with the murals in town, this art co-op has been a very community driven project,” said Campbell, adding that even local kids have been pitching in with weeding, mowing and painting. “The community is taking ownership of this little store, too.”
Grasshopper Gallery is hard to miss, as it is painted in two tones of lime green. Outside is an 11,000-pound perpetual graffiti rock, which the community is encouraged to use.
In the fall, Grasshopper Gallery will offer a variety of classes including quilting, painting, drawing, silk scarf painting, stained glass and willow tree furniture. Rooms will also be available for public rental.
“The money is going back into the hands of the artists,” said Campbell. “We are trying to give as much back as possible. It gives people who can’t afford to go it alone, an opportunity to sell their products.”
The gallery will have its grand opening celebration, July 10, during Irricana Sports Day.
For more information on Grasshopper Gallery, the Irricana Artist’s Co-op, or to find out how to teach or take a class, contact Campbell at 403-935-4234 or by email at email@example.com