Over forty years ago, a group of women in Bright’s Grove dreamed of a public art gallery that would support and inspire local and regional artists through exhibitions and education. Their vision was born at Gallery in the Grove and it continues to thrive and grow to this day.

Located in beautiful Wildwood Park in Bright’s Grove, the gallery is on the second floor of the historic Faethorne House, while the Bright’s Grove Library operates the main floor of the building. “The gallery is located in a 150-year-old building in the middle of a park in Bright’s Grove,” explains Kirsten Kilner Holmes, volunteer chairperson, “From the second-floor windows, you can see beautiful Lake Huron. Inside, visitors enjoy quality exhibitions in a beautiful gallery atmosphere.”

The Gallery hosts up to six exhibitions a year that bring visitors from around the region and showcase local and national artists. These exhibitions offer a home to the work of both emerging and established visual artists and they build awareness, appreciation, and pride among the Sarnia-Lambton community. But it’s the quiet work the Gallery does behind the scenes that is perhaps the most enduring. It is here where they support the next generation of local artists. Gallery in the Grove has awarded more than $140,000 in scholarships to high school students moving into post-secondary arts programs.

The Gallery receives support and donations from service clubs across Sarnia and from local donors. All of the funds received — including a commission from art sales — go directly to the education fund. “We are very passionate about arts and arts education in Sarnia-Lambton,” says Gwen Moore, volunteer Education Manager. Thanks to another Gallery program, VALS (Visiting Artists in Lambton Schools), students in Grade 6 can connect directly with professional artists. “Before COVID we were serving over 30 classrooms across Sarnia-Lambton with this incredible opportunity for students to meet artists and explore the world of visual arts,” explains Gwen, “The program is back up and running now and is always featured in our annual Fast Forward Student Exhibition every May. Teachers love the program because the opportunity to work with professional artists engages the students and they develop confidence and pride in their work.”

Gallery in the Grove is 100% volunteer-operated with a board and over 60 dedicated, passionate volunteers. The volunteer board and staffers are the keys to the success of the gallery. The installation team curates and hangs each exhibition with care and an eye for detail, always striving for a unique presentation of an artist’s work.

The future of Gallery in the Grove is bright with a full exhibition calendar in 2022 and 2023 including a Juried Exhibition in the spring of 2023. A project with volunteers and staff from the City of Sarnia and the County of Lambton is moving forward with a 7,000 sq. ft. library expansion and will include moving Gallery in the Grove onto the main floor of the building, making the space fully accessible. Visitors are always welcome in the gallery and anyone interested in volunteering can contact the gallery through their website at www.galleryinthegrove.com.