Say it isn’t so.
It may well be the end of an era for the Brackendale Art Gallery.
Owners of the BAG, Thor and Dorte Froslev, put the iconic property that houses the gallery up for sale this week for $2.7 million.
“I’m not well,” Thor, 82, said as explanation of the decision to sell.
Though he rattles off a list of health concerns, he looks the same as always: a ponytail, jean overalls and a broad smile for his wife Dorte. She says Thor has been feeling better the last few weeks after a rough patch in April when he had to have a pacemaker put in, so this is the best time to sell.
“We sell it now while we both are with it and can deal with it in a calm and considered way and listen to what the community wants, and find the right buyer and not have to be in a big rush or as an emergency,” she said, adding the worst case scenario would be having to sell it in a crisis or when Thor would not have a say over what happens.
The property includes a gallery store, dining room and theatre, art and yoga studio, eagle conservatory and chapel, to name just a few of the unique characteristics of the property, which also includes a unicorn statute that greets visitors to the gallery. There are also at least five residential studio suites and several artist spaces.
The couple agreed they don’t want just any buyer.
“We have started a process that could end up with the sale of the gallery,” Dorte said.
They would like to see someone buy it who could take it over or use the property in some other way that would benefit the community. Having the site become something like the Hollyhock Retreat, located on Cortes Island, which offers personal, spiritual, and artistic development programs would be perfect, Dorte said.
“Somebody who has a plan for the place and has a feel for it, a feel for the history, a feel for the community,” Dorte said.
Thor said if it sells, he wants to go to Hawaii for six months and then come back and settle in a smaller place in Brackendale. But the sale is emotional, Thor acknowledged.
“I dreamt it, I put it together. I mean 45 years – 50 actually– that I worked on this project, that is a long time, that is over half a lifetime,” he said.
Thor was quoted in the former Squamish newspaper, The Times, on August 23, 1972 talking about the gallery and teahouse, which was planning an opening for that October.
“Tomorrow,” says Thor, “is a lot of things. Yesterday is not here. You can live for today, but there’s always tomorrow and what it may bring.”