After 25 years of operation, artists Claire Kujundzic and Bill Horne have sold Amazing Space Studio and Gallery in Wells to Donna Williams, a musician and music teacher at St. Michaels University School in Victoria.
“We are delighted that this building we restored will retain its connection with the arts,” said Horne, who produced many silkscreen editions and printed a range of Cariboo-themed shirts in the ground floor studio over the years.
Amazing Space Studio and Gallery, which used to be Holy Rosary Catholic Church, had originally gone up for sale in late 2018, as Horne and Kujundzic looked to move closer to Kujundzic’s mother.
“I’ll miss the high ceilings that housed my large trees and forest-based work,” said Kujundzic, “but mostly meeting people from around the world who visited our gallery in the summers. However, I also look forward to being close to family and friends at the coast.”
Horne and Kujundzic moved to Wells in 1995, and after purchasing the old church, they spent several years renovating the building. Since then, they have both been creating and showing artwork in a wide variety of styles and media at Amazing Space, including paintings and silkscreen prints, as well as designing and printing shirts, bags, bottle socks, flags and patches.
While Williams is happy that the building will always be Amazing Space to Wellsians, she plans to rebrand it as Sarras, the mystical island where the Holy Grail was taken after King Arthur was mortally wounded.
“As a lover of all things Arthurian, Sarras seemed the perfect name to me,” said Williams. “According to John Matthews, it is ‘the place where the Grail finds a home and where the knights find rest. It is deeply associated with inner peace, rest and serenity.’ A perfect place to write the next chapter of my journey.”
After 30 years teaching voice, violin, viola and cello, as well as directing and acting in musical theatre productions in Victoria, Williams is looking forward to moving to Wells. She has visited the town many times to attend the ArtsWells Festival, and she fell in love with it.
“I have worked with a few Barkervillians in some Victoria musicals, so I already know a few people in the community,” she said.
Williams’s son, Brin Porter, lead singer and bass player in the Party On High Street and The Brain Porter, his partner Kate Partridge and their daughter Carys live in Prince George and will be frequent visitors.
“Having lived in Manitoba for 27 years, I am not daunted by snow or mosquitoes, and I can’t wait to experience thunderstorms again,” said Williams.
While Williams works her last year at St. Michaels, Kujundzic and Horne are care-taking the building until June 30, 2021. Then they will move permanently to Victoria, where they plan to build a studio.
Until then, Amazing Space Gallery will remain open in Wells by appointment or by doorbell. For more information, visit amazingspacestudio.com/contact.
— Submitted by Amazing Space Studio and Gallery, with files from Lindsay Chung