Local artisans have a very unique and special place to display their work in Victoria Harbour.
The Newton Street Art Barn began as a sole proprietorship venue in 2015 to showcase local creatives.
“We put out a call and with about 12 artisans, opened the doors,” says co-founder Debra Tabler. “It is a consignment-based business and for the first three years was volunteer-driven.”
Three years ago, the Art Barn was incorporated into a not-for-profit in order to support the endeavour, which had then grown to more than 200 artisans.
“This was not altogether an act of altruism as we now had the opportunity to create an environment, within the existing space, that supported our personal and operational core values, which include creativity, diversity, quality and life balance.”
Tabler says their business is truly community focussed and the Shop Local message applies throughout.
“We now house over 380 creatives who paint, preserve and repurpose,” she explains. “Our focus is on our local rural heritage and we hold an annual Harvestfest to celebrate these roots with music, food and artisans.”
They also support a community gARTen on the site and hope to have a Farmers Market there beginning in 2022.
“Our patrons come out of curiosity and find what has been described on social media as a hidden gem,” Tabler says. “Upon arrival they are always greeted or welcomed back.
“Our inventory is extensive and unique and the artisans set their prices, which always seems to be a pleasant surprise to shoppers as it is so reasonable for the quality and uniqueness.”
The barn is located on a former beef farm.
“The barn was in disrepair so as owners of the property we stabilized the barn, worked with the township, and converted the main floor to a showroom for local arts,” Tabler says.
“But the barn was never the sole focus; it was the property.”
With 55 acres backing onto the Hogg Creek (downgraded from a river), the property also features a walking path to the water and a cabin.
“People come as shoppers and often end up using the property for a garden plot or walks to the river with friends, family and pets,” Tabler says.
“There is a natural peace here that people feel and are drawn back to and feel welcomed by.”
Tabler also credits the Art Barn’s exceptional team that is committed to its ongoing growth and development, which will include expansion into the upper story to allow them to hold more workshops (that were popular, but have been limited by COVID-19).
“We are a community of just under 400 local residents providing creative opportunities for locals and visitors alike,” she says.
“We do this in a beautiful rural environment and welcome all to participate whether as a creative or patron.”
The facility is open year-round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday.
For more information, visit their website at www.newtonstreetartbarn.ca.