The place is busy and noisy.
Paul and Jeannine Baker look more like construction workers than artists. Jeannine is sweeping drywall debris in the kitchen/workshop space , and Paul is cutting trim at the chop saw.
In an adjoining room, five or six people are gathered in a circle, note pads in hand in what appears to be serious conversation. It is a board meeting of Yukon Artists @ Work (YA@W), and the artist’s co-operative has a lot to talk about; they’ve got a new space to get ready for a planned February opening.
A few minutes later , the board meeting is over and people are checking out the new gallery spaces. Snippets of comments can be heard over the construction noise.
“Oh man, this is going to just rock.”
“For your show, you could have a great big painting here (hands are spread wide gesturing towards a blank wall), as big as you want.”
The location of all this activity is YA@W’s new digs: 4129 4th Avenue, previously occupied by Pot of Gold.
Everyone is excited.
The group moved out of its previous space on Industrial road at the end of December. YA@W struck a deal with the owner of the property to trade some major renovations, including a new furnace, for a year of rent-free occupancy, a win for both parties.
Having all the costs up front, however, means the group is fundraising. It set up an Indiegogo crowd-funding site, and quickly met its initial $11,000 goal; currently it’s raised over $17,000.
“The support of the community is phenomenal,” says Patrick Royle, president of YA@W.
“Not just the financial support but the emotional support as well. It has been a really good, positive infusion for the artists.”
The mandate of YA@W has always been that what they do be good for the world, the country, the city , and the artists. The move downtown will be a positive contribution for the artists and the city.
The building is more accessible , being the 4th gallery on a walkable downtown route , and will have only a few short steps at the entrance. The co-op also plans to use the outdoor spaces around the building for art demonstrations during the summer.
The work happening inside the building is transformative — from a tight space filled with more than 50 display cases to an open concept gallery. The space is smaller than the last gallery, but that won’t be a detriment; Royle says less wall space will mean the paintings will be rotated frequently, which will keep the gallery fresh.
Stay tuned for the announcement of an opening date .