The rubber boots were lined up on the shelve. Exactly what they needed. The little store in Wells carried just what they were looking for.
Sara Whitney and Gary Fiegehen were planning their first trip on the Bowron Chain and realized they were somewhat ill-equipped.
That timely visit to the little shop in Wells was also their first introduction to the town they now call home in the summertime.
“We gradually got to know the town over the following years and now we own a piece of a great little community,” Gary said.
When Marie Nagel was selling her gallery and moving to a warmer climate in Victoria, Sara and Gary thought her business was the perfect fit for their next venture.
“We love the community, the people, the atmosphere, people are in Wells because they want to be there,” Sara said.
The couple winter in Vancouver but can’t wait to get back to Wells once spring comes.
This year they have been fine-tuning their St. George Gallery and are now open to the public with a diverse array of merchandise from affordable to fine art right down to value-added food products produced in the region.
When they were looking around the province at various potential
locations, Sara said they were seeking a community with something more.
“For a small town, Wells has lots of colour, literary, there’s pink houses and green houses and so much personality,” she said.
“Most of the townsfolk are practicing artists in one way or another.”
St. George Gallery is just up the street from the other Wells gallery, Claire Kujundzic and Bill Horne’s Amazing Space Gallery, both on Bowman Crescent.
“The two galleries support each other, together we increase the
draw to the community,” Sara added.
“We complement each other.”
Sara is an artist whose work is heavily influenced by the Group of 7 (artbywhitney.com) and the gallery focuses on her work but also offers Marie Nagel (including new work from Victoria) and Sandy Hucman’s work (nature and landscapes.)
St. George also carries primarily Gary’s commercial and fine art photography along with Pearl Mayhew’s nature photography, two lines of Bev Pemberton pottery, two woodturning craftsmen’s work by George Thompson and Terry Bunz as well as a collection of materials from artists in the Lower Mainland including jewelry, art cards, Mexican art and Japanese prints. Gary added they are planning on increasing the First Nations presence in the gallery in the future.
Gary said that despite their urban existence, his photography has always reflected his love of the north and Sara is never happier than when she capturing the right image for a painting while tramping around in the wilderness.
So moving to Wells for the summer is not a huge leap for these two but admit they are a little too busy getting St. George up and running to fully appreciate all the Wells area has to offer.
But they are planning on plenty of that in the future.
“Wells is a lifestyle choice for us,” Gary said.
And Sara adds there’s huge value in finding the perfect, unique community that matches your needs.
She also said she loves Quesnel as well with its small town feel and individual little shops.
“They still have a main street and its thriving,” she said.
Both are optimistic about the future of St. George and know that Barkerville and the Bowron Chain will always be a huge tourism draw which Wells is able to capitalize on.
However, regardless, Sara knows she will always paint and Gary will always take pictures.
St. George Gallery is open daily except for Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and always by appointment, 1-250-994-3525. Amazing Space is open Thursday – Sunday, 3 – 6 p.m. and always by appointment 1-250-994-2332.
They can be contacted by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org and be patient, their website in under development.
They assure their customers they can always do business by e-mail during the winter months.