Wellington West 1st Thursdays Art Walk (Part I)

for the Ottawa peeps: 1st Thursdays Art Walk map

Who: you, friends, friendly art-loving kindreds, local gallery owners and artists

What: an evening stroll through six local galleries + even maybe a studio

When: the first Thursday of every month, 7pm start

Where: meetup is at the Fritzi Gallery (Great Canadian Theatre Company), corner of Holland and Wellington

Why: because it's art, it's fun and it's free!


Last Thursday I participated in Wellington West's 1st Thursdays Arts Walk for a third time and was not disappointed.

Comfortably satiated by delicious Greek tapas, two friends and myself joined a group of fellow art enthusiasts for a walk through the neighbourhood and a visit to six local galleries plus one new-to-me studio.

I'm no art expert or connoisseur, but I do consider myself an enthusiast and I can appreciate the work that goes into a piece whether I like it or not. From this perspective, I offer you an overview of the galleries we visited.

Note: This first post will profile the first four venues; a second post will come later, profiling the last three.

Fritzi Gallery (at GCTC) - The first of the galleries and meetup spot, the Fritzi Gallery is on the mezzanine level of the Great Canadian Theatre Company building (GCTC). Often featuring young local artists, pieces are related to the plays that are showing at the time and vary in style and medium. This month featured a young abstract artist called Alex McMahon and I was really taken in by some of his work.

Patrick John Mills Gallery - Ah, the edgy gallery. I'll be honest, some of these pieces are not my cup of tea but it doesn't mean they lack in quality! I love that the owner pushes the boundaries - especially for people like me. Some of the pieces make me squirm a little and that's ok, it's my prerogative to not look at them. If you go make sure you meander all the way to the back and enjoy the outdoor sculpture garden. It's wonderful. Usually hosting show openings on the first Thursday of the month, this gallery often draws a crowd and might be hopping when you get there!

Orange Art Gallery - A relatively new gallery in town, the Orange Art Gallery just celebrated its first anniversary. I like this place. The mix is a little tamer than PJM, but, focused on contemporary art, there's still a bit of edge in some of the pieces and every time I visit something catches my eye. Plus they play records on a turntable set on a little metal cart behind the desk. My kind of people.

Exposure - Set above the Thyme and Again eatery, this little second floor gallery is dedicated to fine art photography, hence its name. I had the pleasure of chatting with the current exhibiting artist, Karen Flanagan McCarthy, during last month's Art Walk and her passion for her craft was palpable. The next show, featuring work by Jeff Fuchs - explorer, mountaineer and author - seems fascinating and I look forward to checking it out.

Et voilà! Four of the seven venues we visited from the perspective of an amateur art enthusiast.

Stay tuned for the remaining three: Gallery 3, Cube Gallery and new-to-me ManleyArt Studio...