Christina Doll // City of Prince George
Aesthete Fine Arts is a new commercial art gallery located in the heart of downtown Prince George that has been established to serve art collectors who live in the city as well as to give local artists a place to showcase and sell their artwork.
While the gallery just opened in May 2021, it has been at the back of the minds of Owner Teresa Cook and Curator and Manager Shelby Richardson for some time. “Teresa and I actually met each other while I was curating through her own personal art collection and we talked about how there wasn’t really a place for folks to go and purchase art in Prince George, especially for established art collectors, and there are lots of them here in Prince George. So we really wanted to create a place where people could go not only to purchase art but to learn about some other contemporary artists,” says Richardson.
“Aesthete” was chosen as the name for the gallery because Richardson says she and Cook always talk about the way art makes them feel and aesthete means someone who has a special appreciation of art, so their feelings about art and the meaning of the word are closely linked. They both feel it’s important to share how art impacts them with others by enabling them to bring original artwork into their homes through the operation of their gallery.
Richardson brings in contemporary artwork from across Canada, with a focus on the works of artists from the Central Interior, Alberta and the Lower Mainland. They also offer a large collection of Inuit artwork, as a main focus of the gallery is promoting Indigenous works. A few Navajo pieces have also made their way into the collection. They are hoping to bring in more work from local artists as they become more established in the community.
They chose a storefront in The Ramada Plaza as the location for their gallery to be close to the new restaurants and cafes opening in the area. The location makes them highly visible to people who come downtown to visit these places and attend events such as the Farmers’ Markets held every Saturday during the summer.
As they opened while restrictions were still in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, they were not able to hold a traditional gallery opening. They have instead opted to do private bookings through their website and Facebook page for up to six people and to encourage walk-ins during opening hours. But Richardson says there has been a silver lining to this non-traditional approach to opening a gallery: “We couldn’t do the traditional art gallery or exhibition opening with food and drinks for everybody and lots of people but it has been nice in a way that we’ve had these really intimate experiences with folks where we could talk a little bit more about the art than you would get a chance to at a big opening, so that’s been really nice.” The gallery has since open for public walk-ins.
If you are interested in stopping by Aesthete Fine Arts either to view and talk about the collection or to purchase a piece of original artwork, you can find them in the Ramada Plaza at 494 George Street.
About the author: Christina worked first as a radio journalist and then a public relations specialist in her hometown of Prince George for almost a decade before transitioning into her current role of Workforce Development Officer in the Economic Development Division at the City of Prince George. She has public and private sector experience in economic development, external and internal communications, marketing, social media and website management, event planning, and research. She has a passion for storytelling and for providing support to local businesses to help them grow and thrive.