Another successful year has ended for the local gallery in Haines Junction. For the last five years, the gallery has been housed in the basement of St. Christopher’s Church.

It started when Lynn De Brabandere, the minister, was having coffee with local artist Marty Ritchie and the conversation turned to the need for a display space to promote local artists’ work. De Brabandere offered the basement of the Haines Junction log church.

Marty Ritchie contacted local artists and craftsmen to see if they were interested in a co-op or guild. The rest, as they say, is history. In the summer of 2012, the gallery opened, and since then the number of artists participating has grown from 15 to 30.

St. Christopher’s is a log church, and is in itself a work of art. Henry Henkel, a Haines Junction resident, designed it and oversaw workmanship as it was built 25 years ago. The basement now houses the gallery every summer.

It’s an example of De Brabandere’s outreach philosophy.

“We are here to inspire and encourage one another, and share resources,” she says.

Artists do what they can in terms of taking shifts to work in the gallery, others contribute in other ways such as painting walls, setting up and taking down the gallery.

Because the artists price their own work, the gallery guild hopes to keep prices affordable. Locals and tourists alike shop for gifts and souvenirs in a wide variety of media such as paintings – both prints and originals – T-shirts, jewelry, art cards, bannock mix, jams, leather and beadwork, books by local authors, pottery, wood and metal works, and quilted, knitted, and hand sewn crafts.

“I’m grateful for all of the artists who take part in the gallery.”

And, the community has benefitted greatly from De Brabandere’s work. The church and gallery are worth a visit when it reopens in June of 2017.