The future home of the Yukon Artists at Work rings with the noise of drill bits and hammers.
In a month, the space, located in the old Yamaha Motors building, will be completely transformed.
Bookcases and desks will disappear and walls will be knocked down and remounted like pieces of Lego.
As Bob Atkinson weaves his way around construction equipment and desks, he points out where things will go.
“The space is actually a bit smaller than the last gallery, but there will be equivalent or even more wall space,” he said.
“And there’s lots of natural light.”
The collective of 25 artists became homeless mid-April after the lease expired on their old gallery space in McCrae.
Now the group has traded in evergreen trees and mountains for rumbling cars and trucks in the city’s Industrial area.
The group made a conscious effort to look for new gallery space downtown to attract more people, said Atkinson.
“With the old place, people often had difficulty finding it,” he said. “Or if they found it, it would be after gallery hours.”
Atkinson admits the Industrial area isn’t an ideal place for a gallery, but the group was juggling time and cost restraints.
“We looked at some places that were too much work to get up and running or were just too expensive,” he said.
“It was looking pretty dismal for a while.”
Then they came upon the Old Yamaha Motors building about a month ago.
The unassuming building, on Industrial Avenue and Jasper, also houses asset-control services for the Yukon government. One could argue that’s a strange neighbour for an art gallery.
However, in its new location the gallery will actually be able to cater to more visitors than it did before. There will also be a demonstration space for visitors.
The new gallery will keep longer hours and will stay open at least five days a week in the winter instead of just three, said Atkinson.
And the central location will allow people to stop in at lunch or on their drive home from work.
Even before the collective officially opens its space, the artists will be out at work in the community, said Atkinson.
This will be the first year the group has taken over organizing artist demos for Arts in the Park from Arts Underground.
In conjunction with music in LePage Park, artists will be giving demos of their work from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day under the park tent.
Two solo artist shows cancelled because of the move have yet to be re-scheduled, said Atkinson.
The board still needs to decide when Lara Melnik and Jeanine Baker will showcase their work after the gallery opens.
Catch some of the Yukon Artists at Work at LePage Park this month. Lillian Loponen will be holding court June 7 – 11; Nicole Bauberger June 14 – 18; John Boivin June 21 – 25; and Harreson Tanner June 28 – 30.
Contact Vivian Belik at