Local and Handmade
Meta4 Gallery Promotes Local and Handmade
Story by Katherine Ryalen
In downtown Port Perry is Meta4 Gallery, an award-winning gallery of fine craft, original art and studio programming. It opened its doors in 2005, and has been so successful that in the fall of 2017, co-owners and artist-entrepreneurs Birgitta MacLeod, Jennifer Hardie and Bonnie Thomson expanded to a second location in Peterborough.
Admittedly, art galleries have developed a reputation for being somewhat stuffy. That may be because, historically, they have been a place of quiet reverence where the artist is long-dead, and his name has become legend. But Meta4 is different. Here, the artists are local. The gallery itself does not seem like a traditional gallery, either. Instead it has the feel of a quaint, small-town boutique. These features, along with workshops designed to help students of all levels of experience develop their artistic skills, bring back what has been missing in art galleries for so long and what is at the heart of art itself—creativity and fun.
“I think new audiences are discovering the joy of handmade,” says co-owner Birgitta MacLeod. “People in their 20s and 30s now are choosing to buy handmade; they’re looking for something unique and fun.”
Birgitta believes that a big part of why local talent is enjoying a growing popularity has to do with the fact that society is becoming more environmentally conscious. “If you buy something local, it hasn’t been transported by plane or train from other sides of the world,” she says. “Your environmental footprint is a lot smaller. But also, we live in this digital world where so many things are not necessarily tangible. So there’s a real pleasure in having something that has the hand of the maker in it, that is connected with a real person. I think people value that now.”
Often shoppers will express to Birgitta and her colleagues that they’re looking for something unique and original. Meta4 certainly has unique and original pieces. Each collection for sale at the gallery comes with its own story, and the ladies of Meta4 keep themselves apprised of their artists and their unique techniques. “At Meta4, we love to share information with people,” Birgitta declares. “If you want to know how something is made or how the artist accomplished a certain technique, we’ll share that with you.”
Meta4 offers workshops for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. If you have experience in one type of creative medium but want to try another, or if you haven’t tried something since you were a child, your opportunity awaits in Port Perry. Learn artistic skills like acrylic painting, monochrome oil portraits, pottery wheel-throwing, stained glass making and metalsmithing.
“People are interested in making things with their own hands,” says Birgitta. “But it’s not just the making, it’s the joy of the time spent doing it. Whether you take the class on your own and you meet a whole bunch of new people, or you sign up with a friend and you spend a day together, it’s just the time spent with other people that is really invigorating.”
To see what’s on at Meta4 Gallery, visit 200 Queen St., Port Perry. To learn about upcoming workshops or for more information, go to www.meta4gallery.ca or call (905) 985-1534.
More Amazing Galleries in Scugog
Scugog Memorial Public Library, 231 Water St., Port Perry
Located within the Scugog Memorial Public Library, the Kent Farndale Gallery showcases the works of emerging and established artists and craftspeople. Artwork here is a multi-media experience, with exhibitions lasting four weeks.
181 Perry St., Port Perry
Since 2005, the Scugog Council for the Arts has been a voice in the community, advocating for the arts. Exhibitions and events include theatre, music, dance, visual and graphic art, craft, literary arts and arts education.
1655 Reach St., Port Perry
The Scugog Shores Museum Village invites visitors to step back through time to see what life was like in the 1800s. Artifacts related to the cultural and natural history of the Township of Scugog is preserved, researched, interpreted and exhibited. The museum also offers the Ojibway Heritage Interpretive Lands, an exhibit which interprets the natural and cultural history of the Scugog Watershed prior to European settlement.