The vision behind Brantford’s newest art gallery

Crawford, a stained-glass mosaic artist, has been perfecting her craft for four years. Photo by Christina Manocchio

“If I have this dream, others have to as well, right?” These are the thoughts of Lily Crawford as she sets to open her brand new art gallery, the Crawford Collective, in downtown Brantford.

Crawford, a stained-glass mosaic artist, has been perfecting her craft for four years, and she realized that now was the perfect time to take a big step and get her work out in the public, in a way that she has not done before.

Crawford joined the Brant studio tour in 2014, her first year going public. The Brant Studio Tour is a collective of about 20 local arctists that open their studios to the public for a short time.

“It was a huge success, and it furthered a dream I had – having a storefront location.  I started driving around looking at places, and I walked into this place, saw it was obviously way too big for me, and thought about opening a collective gallery,” explains Crawford.

She knows there are others in the community just like her, that want to get their work out in the public. Like her, she thought the things that are holding them back are fear, and money. Crawford is taking things into her hands, taking a huge step, and in doing so, removing the financial fear from artists who wish to join the collective. She also thinks the process of just signing up to be a member will help other members who have wanted to have a public storefront for their work but have not yet done so for whatever reason.

Crawford really emphasizes that the gallery will indeed be a collective. There will be many different forms of art on display, such as pottery, jewelry, paintings, and printings as well as sculpted heads and her own pieces of stained-glass mosaics. Crawford knows that not everybody may enjoy the same kind of art, so if you bring many different forms together, you will attract a wider audience, and they just may fall in love with something new.

One highlight of the collective will be affordability. Crawford understands what its like going into a gallery where everything is priced in the thousands. Her gallery will have items listed as low as $5.00, for cards and prints of member’s work. But if you are a serious collector, then there will also be high priced original items. Another feature will be private workshops. Anybody will be able to book after-hours workshops with her and other members who will offer them.

“When we do show our work, two of the biggest statements we hear are ‘how do you do that?’ and ‘I would love to do that,’” says Crawford. The materials will be provided, and Crawford will guide each person through their own creative process. “Everybody has some sort of artistic ability, they just don’t know it,” says Crawford.

The gallery will be located just west of campus buildings on 4 King St, close to Sophia’s Bakery. Crawford knows the location has a lot of undeveloped spots around it, but believes that the area has potential bubbling just below the surface. Already there is the bakery located on that street, and the gallery will offer a second beautiful place to go hang out at. As more stores open in those streets, it will only attract more customers.

Crawford believes her gallery and its contents will resonate with students. She knows there is a desire in students to become more in touch with art and creativity, and is glad to bring a further artistic presence to the downtown core.

The actual opening of the gallery is not yet determined. Originally slated for a grand opening on Valentine’s Day, the official opening will be pushed back a couple weeks. The Sputnik will post on its Twitter and Facebook when the gallery will be open for your viewing and purchasing pleasure. Crawford also plans to hold monthly receptions that will be event-like in nature, featuring artist’s work.

Pictures and examples of Crawford’s work can be found on her website, She has many different styles, with works featuring Pink Floyd album covers, a Kurt Cobain portrait, and a depiction of Geisha’s.

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Richard says:

Nice to see you doing well lily.

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