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Dreams, Beauty, Business

By Erika Sherk

The Grant Berg Gallery Combines Beautiful Things and Solid Business Acumen

Open the door of the Grant Berg Gallery and look inside. Past the sleek grey walls, chandeliers, paintings, and sculptures, you’ll see a cozy fireplace. It was a deliberate plan. “I wanted people to be drawn in, like moths to a flame,” says owner Grant Berg with a smile. The idea is to make sure everyone feels welcome.

“When somebody walks in, they’re not necessarily there to buy art,” says Berg. “They may just be there to learn, to experience something new, or to surround themselves with art. I respect everyone’s perspective.”

Walking through the gallery you might also see art in progress; Berg is an award-winning sculptor. His public sculpture, Wind Blown, can currently be seen between the downtown 100 Ave. and 99 Ave. bridges. When his store is quiet, Berg polishes his stone works in the light of the gallery’s front window.

The gallery, which opened in March of 2016, provides a space to lose oneself amongst beautiful things, and its existence is a longtime dream come true for the owner. However, it is not all beauty and dreams. “At the end of the day it’s still a business. Things have to sell,” Berg says.

The owner says he’s had many people ask him, tentatively, if it’s going okay. “It’s like they expect it to be a disaster.” It’s not, though. “Art is exceeding my expectations,” he says.

Berg’s aim is to help make purchasing art accessible for the majority, not just an elite pursuit. Yes, there is an $8,900 piece by RFM McInnis on the wall, but prices range down to $5 art cards.

Berg and his gallery were nominated for three Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce Awards of Distinction this year: Best New Business, Arts and Culture, and Eagle Feather, winning the latter.

The Eagle Feather award is for an Indigenous owned or supporting business. Berg has Cree ancestry. Promoting Indigenous art is important to him.

Photo by Sean Trostem

“I love it and I believe in it and I want the people of this area to see and learn about some of the Indigenous artists we have in Canada,” he says.

The gallery shows roughly 150 works from 36 artists with 100 more pieces in the storeroom. Artwork circulates constantly.

Grande Prairie mayor Bill Given has visited the gallery several times. “The thing that I like about it,” he says, “is that each time I go in there’s something new and unique, oftentimes something surprising.”

It’s a welcome addition to the city, Given says.

When somebody walks in, they’re not necessarily there to buy art, they may just be there to learn, to experience something new, or to surround themselves with art. I respect everyone’s perspective.

“It taps into the really lively artistic community that we have in Grande Prairie and in the Peace Region,” he says. “It’s great to see a venue for our local artists as well as these renowned provincial, national, and international artists – a spot where all these communities can come together right in the heart of the city.”

And you never know which member of that community you might find sipping a coffee next to the fireplace. “Artists come in, customers will come in, and everyone likes to sit back here,” Berg says. “It just creates a wonderful conversation.”

Contributor: Erika Sherk

A lifelong writer and creative spirit, Erika has a degree in journalism from Carleton University with a minor in political science. The Beaverlodge native has worked as a full-time journalist in both the Canadian Arctic and the Middle East and freelanced from Nunavut, Spain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates as well as, of course, the Peace Country.