ViewPoint Art Gallery
“We are less lonely when we connect. Art is connection.”– Nikki Giovanni Viewpoint Art Gallery was created from a vision to make art accessible to all and to showcase the unique & talented artists from the Kootenays. In May 2019, Carolyn Beck opened the Gallery with views nearly as stunning as the artwork inside. With exhibitions curated to wow, which are always free to attend plus live artist demos and community focused fundraisers, the gallery is the “Art of the Kootenays in the Heart of the Kootenays.” While the 2020 pandemic threatened this new & solo run business, Carolyn pivoted to keep her doors open and the 70 local artists on display. ViewPoint has a full online store (over 1100 pieces) which is always accessible with local pickup and shipping available. This summer two exhibitions were held with socially distanced and outdoor displays plus full digital tours accessible online. In its first year open the gallery fundraised for the Red Cross benefiting Kootenay residents that succumbed to forest fire loss and in its second year held an Art for Food Campaign with 100% of the proceeds to 3 local Kootenay Food Banks. The gallery proudly places artists first with one of the lowest commercial commissions in the province and no juror or annual fees. The Gallery receives no funding and Carolyn is continuously working hard to keep Kootenay Art accessible during these trying times. ViewPoint Art Gallery hopes to see you soon safely and show you all the unique art the Kootenays has to offer.
In Business Since 2019
Best Community Impact
What motivated you to start your business and what core cause do you support?
ViewPoint Art Gallery was created as a space I felt that Nelson needed to showcase some of the great artistic talent in the Kootenay region. I wanted people to be able to connect through art and for people to connect to the artists as well as their work; a Gallery where anyone would feel welcome and comfortable in the space and to have artwork in a range of pricing for every budget. I didn’t want a financial barrier to stop anyone from seeing an Exhibition and I wanted artists to feel proud of their work while having it showcased in a beautiful space. I have a great amount of respect for artists and I understand how much time and dedication goes into creating artwork. I want artists to be compensated fairly so the Gallery has no jury fee, no annual membership and a low commission - plus emerging artists are encouraged to apply and provided feedback and guidance. I also wanted to give back to the community which is why the Gallery has fundraisers and hosts free Exhibitions and Artists Demonstrations - thus connecting art to the community.
Why do you deserve to win the Best Community Impact award?
One quote I have always loved is “do not work for recognition but do work worthy of recognition.” - Abraham Lincoln. Just receiving this email of being nominated brightened my day. I did not open this gallery to make millions or be the best there is. I felt there was so much talent to share from the Kootenays. I felt the artists needed a place to showcase to locals and visitors needed to see what our community has. I have created a unique gallery with artists and artisans from professionals to emerging artists in a wide range of art forms for every budget. I also know Galleries can sometimes seem intimidating, seem too fragile to bring children in or people feel pressure to buy. I only want to encourage art to be accessible and that art is for all. I feel the Gallery successfully represents Kootenay artists by giving their work a beautiful presence in a public space and getting their work recognized through marketing and various social media platforms. It connects the public to Kootenay artists and contributes to the community through free events and fundraising. From newsletters featuring the artists to free Exhibitions - both in gallery and online to artist demonstrations to engage and fundraisers that have given back to the community.
What motivated you to start your business? What challenges did you overcome as a Solopreneur?
Art is my passion and it's incorporated into my life in many ways. I am a professional graphic designer, illustrator & artist. I'm a Gallery junkie; whenever I travel I have to check out the local Galleries. I encourage others to take up some kind of art, as it is very therapeutic & relaxing. Art has always been around me; I had many talented relatives that either created art professionally or for fun & I was fortunate enough for them to share their knowledge at a young age. My family & friends encouraged me to follow my dream & were there to help bring it to fruition. I carry these memories of my love of art & use it to keep myself motivated even on hard days to keep sharing art with the world. My appreciation for all styles of art consistently grows. I moved to Nelson 12 years ago & I fell in love with the vast range of artists & talent this area had to offer. Nelson has been called “the art capital of Canada” yet I felt we needed another space to help house all these great artists. I wanted to provide a platform for all artists from emerging to professional to share their work, a way for the community to connect & embrace their art. I know the personal struggle of pursuing art & wanted to help artists & artisans by having a low commission and provide a promotional platform to them, thus enabling them to gain the recognition & respect they deserve. Some challenges were getting the space ready to be a Gallery; incorporating a parking area onto a sloped property; designing the interior space to incorporate a huge amount art without having it feel crammed in, having a Gallery on the outskirts of small interior city with a population of only 10,000. To overcome these issues I hired a contractor to work with me on the parking area to work with the slope & triangle shape, the Gallery space took time for me to layout, but once I see a space I can get my head around it & work through the problems & sort the details. The location issue takes a bit of work, its not that far out of town so I promote its location by the stunning view of Kootenay lake it offers & by allowing people to enjoy it on the outside deck. I promote its uniqueness, the number of artists & vast array of work. I’ve taken advantage of the location & made it visible to traffic by placing artwork outside the Gallery to draw people’s attention. I have advertised on different platforms from local radio stations, newspaper, bus bench ads right down to grocery store dividers at the check out.
Why do you deserve to win the Best Solopreneur award?
There are struggles and downsides of being a one person operation. Mistakes you make are your own to fix, problem solving is done while talking to my daughter over a glass of wine (wait a second - that is actually quite enjoyable) and sleep comes secondary at times. You carry the weight of all those who rely on your business - myself being all my amazing artists. But the feeling is indescribable when you make those who come into your business rave about how wonderful it is or when you change someone's day by telling them a piece of their art just sold and thank you for all your efforts. This nomination alone means a lot, when your days are filled to the brim making everything happen for your business, self-recognition takes a back seat. This award would be recognition I would never be able to truly give myself.
Premier's People's Choice
This is a gallery for all people from the people of the Kootenays. I have strived to create a space that is welcoming for all to enjoy art without any financial barriers or stigma. ViewPoint is a Gallery that any and all artists are encouraged to apply to. Emerging artists are mentored. The diversity and inclusiveness is seen from wall to wall. In the short time the gallery has existed it has fundraised for local community causes and will continue to do so. I have held small events, artist demos and even with COVID restrictions have worked to keep connected to the community and bring people together, while apart - through art.