I had the opportunity to interview Lily Crawford, the owner of an artisanal art gallery located in Brantford, Ontario called The Crawford Collective.
Unfortunately, the interview was done on a rather solemn note as the gallery will be closing its doors on August 27th of this year.
The Crawford Collective art gallery is home to sixteen local artists and artisans and displays artwork in addition to artisanal pottery, jewelry and glasswork. After its seventeen-month duration, The Collective will be closing due to a lack of community response and participation.
“I wanted to open a collective art gallery because Brantford did not have anything like The Crawford Collective,” explained Lily Crawford, “Art is a passion of mine, and I wanted to change the fact that artistry was lacking in Brantford and furthermore in my community.”
Crawford is an artist herself, creating mosaics using stained glass. She discussed how she believes that art is an essential component involved in strengthening a community.
“There is a lot of talk that downtown is becoming revitalized, and arts and culture have always been a major driving force behind any revitalization.”
The Crawford Collective offered numerous events in hopes of engaging and welcoming the Brantford community into the realm of artistry. Some of their offered events included work shops during which individuals could come into the gallery and watch how artisan artists perform their work, the hosting of the grade seven and eight Braemar School art students and featuring their work in the gallery, and collaborating with the Norfolk Arts Centre in Simcoe to produce a communal show that familiarized Norfolk County with Brantford artists.
Crawford emphasized the gallery’s development of the First Friday’s program, an event that occurred the First Friday of every month. The event allowed visitors and the general public to come into the gallery in order to observe new work and meet artists.
“We contributed (to Brantford) in so many different ways,” said Crawford, “This was a dream come true.”
The gallery will be open until August 27th, with business running as usual. There will be a First Friday event on August 5th from 6-9pm as well as a “Last Friday” celebration on August 26th.
“We are calling our last First Friday, a ‘wake’ which to celebrate a life that has left us and to help us say goodbye” stated Crawford.
For more information about The Crawford Collective and to learn more about its history, visit thecrawfordcollective.com.