A pink and blue building stands out on the corner of Church and Queen St. downtown. The building that now hosts Gallery 78 was built in 1911 and was home to an ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. Ashburnham Pierce Crocket, which explains why the complex is also known as ‘The Crocket House.’
Decades after, the house was later sold to the province to host the New Brunswick Tourism Department. And in 1986 the building became the property of Inge and James Pataki, Gallery 78 owners.
“I helped scrape and paint when I was in middle school, 10 years ago,” Nikki Thériault, Gallery 78’s communications person and owners Inge and James Pataki’s granddaughter, said. “It was this not-super-attractive sandy yellow, really peeling and chipping, pale colour before. We thought pink is not something that other houses in downtown have, so we know no one else is gonna have it.”
Thériault’s grandmother started the gallery 41 years ago; now her mom is the manager and she manages social media as well as curates exhibitions. “It’s a lot in the family,” she said.
For Thériault, Gallery 78 is a nice place to hang out and get refreshed and inspired by local and Atlantic Canadian art.
“We love supporting our wonderful and talented artists here. There are some great people that are so lucky they get to just paint and that is their job. So the paintings that we sell for them is their way of making money. And when we get to sell things, everyone’s happy, the artists and the clients.”
She especially feels it’s rewarding to chat with people that have never been to the gallery before and share the building’s history.
The century old building is getting ready to host two new exhibitions in March 23, 2018.
One room will hold an exhibition called ‘Under Glass,’ a collection of new works by P.E.I.-based artist Andrew Henderson. “His style, and what he is most known for, is painting glass mason jars with watercolors.” These jars have objects inside that the artist finds important to preserve, such as a Canadian maple leaf, fruit, tea cups or tulips. The exhibition will also show his newest exploration of glass objects in painting.
“It will be a very nice spring-y show,” Thériault said. “The artist was born in Fredericton and has been showing his art in Gallery 78 for at least a decade, so he is one of our long time artists. We are really excited to have him back.”
Another room will hold a group exhibition titled ‘Artist’s Choice.’ In this show, the Gallery is introducing new artists to the gallery’s family, such as Richard Montpetit, Stephen May and Amber Leger.
“We stick to that general title when we want the artist to choose what they want to show. Some of the things are very new, but others are older pieces they want to show again. It’s up to them; it’s their choice,” Thériault said.
The exhibitions will open March 23 with a reception and will be available for the general public until April 16.