In 1962, Yarwood Drugs was alive with the colourful drawings of local students. Bernhard Brown lamented, at the time, that there was great art in the community seldom seen, so he put some up.
Nearly 50 years later, in the same space, three local artists with a similar vision have opened UpStares Gallery. Instead of waiting for prescriptions, visitors can now walk through seven themed rooms, each vibrantly decked with local art in a different discipline, including paintings, stained glass, photography, pottery, jewellery and wood carving.
Once a home for the gallery was found - the heritage building at 37991 Cleveland Ave. - it filled up quickly. But co-owner and glassware artist Judy McQuinn said for a long time local artists have needed a place to peddle their wares.
"We have a lot of artists in Squamish, and if you have a show for two days somewhere here, and a show for another two days someplace else down the road, it just makes it hard," she said.
McQuinn, along with painter Linda Bachman and photographer Michael Kanka, opened the doors to the gallery on Canada Day. They said the initial response was positive, but to make the endeavour a lasting success will take hyping local artists, not just in their hometown, but to the world. Bringing the public closer to art and artists is one way they hope to achieve it.
"You don't want to have a gallery that is just a showroom," Kanka said. "You want to have the area alive, you want to have artists in here, working and showing visitors how they work, what they are doing - this brings the people closer to the art."
Also planned is a hands-on approach, which is why one of the rooms is a workshop. McQuinn said that while not everyone may be a great artist, learning is one of the first steps to art appreciation. As to the variety of classes, they are taking ideas.
"We even had a couple of guys up here asking if we were going to have a jewellery workshop," she said.
The gallery will rotate artists on approximately a six-week basis. Well-known artists will have continuous space.
"What we do and if something sells we contact the artist. They have a space for a fixed period and they can come back and replace it with another piece," Bachman said.
The Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Also located in the gallery is a professional photo studio, Double Shutter Images.