By Ted Simpson –
After nearly 15 years as an institution of art and community in Kitchissippi, Cube Gallery will be closing their doors permanently this month. But don’t think this will be the last you see of the team behind the Cube. They’re not going away.
Don Monet and Becky Rynor launched the first iteration of Cube Gallery on Hamilton Avenue back in 2005. Don took on the role of being ‘the face’ of the gallery and its curator, while Becky made things happen behind the scenes. The team – and the gallery – have come a long way since then and the neighbourhood has grown up around them, with Cube as a cultural hub.
As a gallery, Cube has always been about making art accessible. Giving Canadian artists – many of them local – a place to show their work, and giving customers a warm, welcoming place where you don’t have to be wealthy to take home something beautiful. “I like putting art into the hands of people who love it,” says Don. “It’s not something that you need, it’s something that you want and it becomes a part of your house that can last for generations.”
Every piece of art you have ever seen at Cube has been personally selected by Don and his long-time assistant, Sylvia Johnston, because that particular piece means something to them; never with the question of, ‘will this sell?’ but with asking, ‘is this good art?’
“Everything that’s hung in this gallery is something that we (Don and Sylvia) would proudly hang in our homes,” says Don.
As a space for the community, the gallery has hosted countless events and art shows, from theatre and music to weddings and birthday parties, political events, fundraisers, and their annual stargazing parties. It’s an art gallery not just for the elite and anointed, but one for all of the people.
Sadly though, all things must end at some point, or change. The show currently on display at Cube will be their final one. On May 12, Don and Sylvia will close the doors at the gallery for the final time and this chapter for Cube will end.
But Don and Becky aren’t leaving, they’ve been long time Kitchissippi residents and that isn’t changing. The team behind Cube are still advocates for their community and proud supporters of their friends and family in the local business community.
“To be able to shop local means your helping people in your community to survive, you want to have great businesses in your community that are owned by moms and pops,” says Don.
And they won’t be leaving their family in the art community either. The couple will still have a role to play, if just a bit less tangible.
“The Cube bricks and mortar is going away, Becky and I are retiring from that major thing of running a day to day operation, but Cube will continue in terms of doing special events and I fully plan to keep being a curator in this community,” says Don. “We don’t want to go away too far.”
Cube friends old and new are encouraged to come see the last show, a stunning display of work they have aptly named Threshold. It will be there until May 12.
“A threshold is the point of entering or leaving a dwelling, an era or a chapter,” says Don. It’s worth one final visit to take in, Don and Sylvia would love to see you.
After that, it’s a much-needed vacation for Don and Becky and their family. What’s coming next? The future of the building is up in the air at the moment, but you’d be smart to bookmark cubegallery.ca and follow them on social media. When the next chapter starts, you won’t want to miss out.
*This feature is brought to you in part by Produce Depot.