Our Story

‘Gateway to The Arts will be an inclusive, safe and affordable space for all artists and members as well as the public.’

Gateway To the Arts is a grassroots organization where the tips of the flower are a mosaic of colors. Born from the realization there is no stronghold for Northern Ontario artists to exhibit their works independent of hosting a solo or curated show. Many emerging artists, whether young or old, are not at a point where a solo show is a comfortable endeavor without experiencing some growth and mentoring from a more experienced artist. Gateway To the Arts embraces the adage, ‘we all must start somewhere’ and it works hard to provide this opportunity in a positive and empowering environment.

Owned by Karrie Emms, Dani-lynn Redgrift-Berthelot, Gateway To the Arts exists in a 2600 sq. ft. Main Street storefront in North Bay, Ontario. It features workshop and day camp space, common work spaces, a large and bright storefront gallery and shop as well as many hidden treasures which go along with a period building in any downtown core. Through the support of a gracious landlord Gateway To the Arts was able to come to fruition with a little elbow grease despite the lack of budget which was countered with an, ‘if we build it… they will come’, attitude.

And come they did. Quickly Gateway To the Arts became a center for artists and began to run many local events and support many endeavors aligning the Co-operative with its mission to be greatly involved in community, art and leadership training. The Co-operative has quickly established itself as a go to player whenever there is an event to host, a need for space, an artist seeking mentorship or a community initiative needing support.

Some examples of the co-operatives community involvement, even during its first year and a global pandemic, are:

Christmas Vendor Event: Provided showroom space for 14 local artisans whose events were cancelled giving them a location to sell the crafts they would have sold during events cancelled by the pandemic.

Festival of Trees: Partnered with artists and other local businesses to provide Christmas from the ground up for four families struggling with serious illness or hardship related to the pandemic who would not have qualified for other help.

YMCA Game Sales: We carry the YMCA memory game in the store with the proceeds going to the YMCA.

Gathering Place Donation Bins: Artists painted winter themes on the boxes.

Downtown North Bay April Pandemic Kits: Part of a conglomerate of businesses who provided activities for kits families could do at home during the March Break.

Gateway To Diversity Festival: The most recent endeavor sees the Co-operative creating an entire festival geared at bringing the downtown together post-pandemic to celebrate the many types of diversity in our city. This runs under the National Culture Days Banner and sees 18 events run through the Co-operative and the Downtown.

All-in-all, Gateway To the Arts, or GTTA as its’ members call it, has some amazing things on tap for the coming year and through the volunteer hours contributed by member artists anything is possible. Be on the lookout for great events, workshops, birthday parties, vendor shows, exhibitions and much, much more through our events page. And if you are an artist looking for a place to exhibit, a place to grow and a place to lead…be sure to reach out to GTTA. We are always seeking new members.

Have an amazingly creative day,
Karrie & Dani-Lynn



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