Visiting an art gallery can be an enriching and relaxing experience. In order to make your visit as enjoyable as possible, here are some frequently asked questions we have covered, in case you have any concerns:
Monthly Feature - Ask the Curator:
How long does it take to install new exhibitions? And why do you have to close the exhibition space to install?
Over the course of the year we have between 12 and 18 exhibitions. To change over an exhibition takes anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks depending on the exhibition that is being struck and the exhibition that is being installed. Further, the timing of an exhibition opening and closing is not always in our hands as some of the exhibitions are borrowed from other institutions and are on 'tour' as was the case with the M.C. Escher exhibition. While we try to schedule our installations around community events like the First Friday, it is not always possible. Between our opening on Oct 5, 2012 and December 2013, there will be 14 First Fridays. Of those 14 First Friday's, there are only two where some of the exhibitions were not open.
Here is a typical timeline and process of change-over for an exhibition:
- For two exhibitions, it takes 4 days to condition report, wrap and crate the work after an exhibition - a technician from the National Gallery of Canada was here working with us and overseeing this process for the Escher.
- It takes 5 days to deconstruct, rebuild/rearrange walls and build plinths for the next exhibition
- It takes 5 days to paint walls and plinths
- It takes 4 days for fresh paint to off-gas (a best practice for a Category A gallery)
- It takes 5 days to install the next two shows which includes any technical, sound, electrical and special mounting and lighting requirements that a specific work or works might require.
Except in extraordinary situations, we have committed to have one exhibition on view at all times.
What is the cost of attending the Gallery?
As a public art gallery, we have been able to keep admission to the Gallery free. Members of Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery have discounted rates for all public programs and special events. Costs for public programs including our Family Sundays and Art & Ideas progams are usually free unless otherwise stated.
Can I take photographs? What are the copyright policies?
The JNAAG allows photography for personal use only, except where indicated. We ask that you respect the rights of artists and their representatives under Canadian copyright law. For more information on Canadian copyright law, visit http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-42/
Why can't I touch the art, frames, or sculptures?
There are acids and oils in your skin that will damage the art. When we are hanging or taking shows down, our staff wears white cotton gloves to protect the artwork. Even large sculptural works and the frames of paintings need consideration. If we didn't take such precautions, fingerprints would show up, soft materials would absorb acids and oils, and patina or faux finishes would wear off over time.
How often do you change exhibitions?
We offer a variety of historical and contemporary exhibitions that, as per our mandate, focus on visual art and visual culture by Canadian artists of national and regional calibre in a dynamic environment. Often exhibitions are planned three years in advance, and typically remain up for approximately three months. Generally speaking, each gallery space will house three different exhibitions per calendar year, but this can vary. Sometimes multiple gallery spaces will be used for a single exhibition.
What does a visit to the Gallery include?
You can visit the Gallery and explore it on your own, you can book a guided tour with your group or on regularly scheduled tour opportunities you can participate in a docent-guided tour. You can also get involved in one of our many public programs, schedule some time to enjoy the rich array of resources available in the Visual Art Research Room, and even book a space in the Gallery for a future special event. Contact the facilities manager for more information about opportunities available to you at the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, both within our programming and our facility.
What is the oldest work in the collection?
The oldest work in the collection is a watercolour painting on paper by Daniel Fowler (R.C.A., O.S.A.). This painting is as old as Confederation itself, being completed in 1867. It is an untitled work, but features a fairly traditional rendering of a freshly hunted bird on its back. This work was purchased by Gallery Lambton in 1986.
What was the first work in the collection?
Though it was before the formal existence of the gallery or a properly identified permanent collection, the Sarnia Women's Conservation Art Association purchased three paintings on March 31, 1920. These are now seen as the first three works in what became our collection of Canadian visual culture. They are H.S. Palmer's Sawing Logs (1919), J.W. Beatty's Winter Scene (Near Toronto) (1918), and A.Y. Jackson's Spring in Lower Canada (Maples, Early Spring) (1915). These paintings were acquired for a total of $700.00.
How do you care for your works?
One large on-site vault stores works that are not on exhibit, either on site or as part of a Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery traveling exhibition. The Gallery permanent collection houses over 1,100 works of art, so at any given time, the majority of these are in storage. Our exhibition spaces and vaults are carefully monitored by machines that measure temperature and humidity levels. The vaults are kept dark, and works on paper are stored in acid free boxes and are separated from one another by sheets of acid free tissue. Staff wear clean, white cotton gloves, and keep the handling of the art to a minimum. When required, we send works in our collection to specially trained conservationists to have maintenance and corrective work performed.
Who are the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery's outside partners, and why did they decide to contribute?
We have many "outside partners", including many gallery Members, the County of Lambton, and all other levels of government, councils, small and large businesses, and individuals across the county. In the end, the decision to give is a highly personal one. Some give for the love of art, or in the case of sponsoring an exhibition, for the love of one artist’s work, or a particular movement, for example; others like the fact that their contributions allow the Gallery to offer low-cost or free activities for families and youth; others believe that their show of support helps revitalize the downtown core. Regardless of the reason, the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery has a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for the vision and consideration of all of our partners.