The Winding River Art Gallery is a co-operative gallery in Stewiacke featuring about 30 core members, as well as others on consignment. It’s open daily until December and can easily be found at Mastodon Ridge in Stewiacke. Submitted photo

STEWIACKE – For artists, especially those in rural areas, it can sometimes be difficult to have works displayed.

But for those near Stewiacke, the Winding River Art Gallery might just be the perfect place.

Kelly Morehouse is one of the founding members of the gallery, who re-joined when this season rolled around.

“When the gallery had started seven years ago, I was part of a group of about six artists who were forming a group in Stewiacke,” said Morehouse, who lives in Mill Village, just outside Shubenacadie. “There was gallery space in Mastodon Ridge, and it was offered in a way to see if I’d like to do anything with the space.”

With the offer in hand, Morehouse presented the idea to the others in the group, who all seemed to be on board. The co-operative was then born and the gallery started, with the plan to have the community involved.

While she had stepped away from the gallery over the last few years, Morehouse saw there was an opening for a core member and she applied.

“You have to be juried in,” she said, adding one can’t just walk in and become a member. So, Morehouse brought in some of her work and was accepted. This season will feature some of Morehouse’s oil paintings, pastel work, and mixed media.

“It’s nice to have a place close by, where artists can show their work and work with the community,” she said. “I think the group that are looking after the gallery, they all work well together. Everybody has the same goal.”

For fibre artist Penny Lighthall, the gallery is one where she’s not a member, but a consignee.

“I’m overwhelmed by the talent of the artists in the gallery,” said Lighthall, who is showing her work at the gallery for the first time. “I feel honoured to be showing my work among them.”

Throughout her entire life, Lighthall was an artist in one form or another. She had been the curator of the Wallace and Area Museum when she started a rug hooking group, and it’s something she’s been doing ever since. She’d been looking for a place over the last few years to show her work.

“I was waiting for what I thought would be a good match for me,” said the Truro artist. “Other places wanted 60 to 70 per cent of your sales, but why would you do all that work and give them 70 per cent?

“I was looking for the proper place – with active professionals, and the others’ work is just so beautiful.”

Among the works displayed at the gallery, Lighthall will have about two dozen pieces, with the possibility of more as the season goes on.

Along with local talent, the gallery features a prominent Maud Lewis exhibit with handmade silkscreen prints available for purchase. Other memorabilia are also on display, such as handwritten notes on the copyright granted to Willard Ferguson to reproduce Lewis’s prints.

The gallery is located on the upper level of Mastodon Ridge, just off Highway 102 in Stewiacke. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until December.