Two community newspapers have covered the Gallery recently; the Lindenlea Lindenleader and the New Edinburgh News! Here's the article from the first; we'll be posting the second one soon!
Michael and Irene Tobis, quite unexpectedly, have recently found a new way to meet neighbours and engage with the community.
Since moving into a condo on Springfield Road 3 years ago, they have been active in LCA, taking exercise classes, attending games nights, cooking chili, and even organizing a Taco Tuesday dinner at the community center.
When they found out, earlier this year, that the Crichton Street Gallery was closing, they realized that, as retirees, they might be able to take it over, to try to keep it going, in much the same manner it had been operating for the previous 5 years, as a part-time art venue representing a small group of local artists. It was an inopportune moment; they signed the lease on March 1, little realizing the impact the COVID crisis would have as they began repainting the walls. It soon became clear that their plans would require some adjustments.
Unable to have a Grand Opening, or even to open their doors during the COVID lockdown, they set to work on their online store -- and they filled the gallery's large picture windows full of beautiful artworks, in an attempt to lift the spirits of passers-by. Their first "exhibit", sans vernissage, took place entirely in the windows and online. Inspired by the sad semi-closure of the Tulip Festival downtown, they reached out to Ottawa's art community for artworks displaying tulips, for their Tulip Art Festival. When they were finally allowed to open later in May, passers-by, friends and neighbours began dropping in.
Since then Electric Street Gallery (at the intersection of Crichton and Electric Street - but easier to remember and spell!) has been having theme shows, with participation by dozens of local artists.
With COVID precautions in place, offering online ordering and curbside pickup, the gallery is open four days per week, with extended hours for the holiday gift-giving season.
The Gallery's mission is to find and promote local art, from emerging artists to accomplished and recognised veterans. Michael and Irene's goal, however, is not just to run an art business, but to engage with the community. Keeping the windows packed with ever-changing displays of art, they hope Lindenlea neighbours will pass by and drop in regularly, making art a part of their daily life.
Electric Street Gallery hopes to be a mainstay of the community for many years to come.