Exploring Downtown Kingston's Colourful Art Scene: A Tour of Art Galleries & Studios

By Rosalyn Gambhir

Welcome art supporters and curious wanderers alike!

Today, I’m taking you on a colourful journey through the streets of downtown Kingston’s diverse art scene, with a focus on its captivating galleries and studio spaces. If you’re visiting, or a local resident you’re sure to find something to browse or even add to your personal art collection.

From contemporary masterpieces to whimsical creations and thought-provoking installations, join me as we dive into the world of Gallery Raymond, Tri-Art Gallery, Martello Alley, Martello on Brock, and Birdgirl Arts.

Gallery Raymond

Our first stop on this artistic adventure, we step into Gallery Raymond on Princess St. As part of the Kingston art community for almost 40 years, it is Kingston’s largest commercial gallery representing 24 local artists and displaying over 400 works of art. This gallery showcases a stunning collection of fine art and photography, as well as classic landscapes to digital prints.

Gallery Raymond offers something for every taste and style - includes feature artists such as Bonnie Brooks, Sarah Hunter Beth ten Hove, Mark Graham, Aili Kurtis and many more including owner Raymond Vos’ own display of photos of his voyages through Kijabe, Kenya capturing the breathtaking beauty of the people, vibrant culture and animals.

Alongside the impressive collection of art, Gallery Raymond also offers exceptional custom framing as well for those looking to spruce up their art.

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Tri-Art Gallery

As we make our way down Princess St past Clergy St, we venture to Tri-Art Gallery, a hidden gem waiting to be discovered tucked away in the back of Art Noise.

Not just a gallery, though an immersive experience with various exhibitions on display throughout the year, Tri-Art Gallery is a welcoming and inclusive space that celebrates art in all its forms, while cultivating connections within the vibrant downtown Kingston community. What sets this gallery apart is its unique dedication to highlighting art created with locally sourced materials from Tri-Art Manufacturing.

Here, visitors are treated to a diverse array of contemporary artworks, ranging from bold abstract paintings to intricate sculptures. With its emphasis on innovation and expression, Tri-Art Gallery is sure to inspire and delight!

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Martello Alley & Martello on Brock

Our tour continues to Martello Alley, a unique gallery nestled within the historic walls of downtown Kingston on Wellington St. Here, visitors can explore a transformed alleyway of vibrant colours and imaginative installations that pay homage to the rue du Trésor in Quebec’s old city where artists exhibit and sell their works. When you spot the colourful bicycles, walk down the alleyway towards the courtyard which leads into a wonderful space curated from floor to ceiling showcasing various pieces of artwork from originals to prints, sculptures, stained glass and more including local artists such as Pat Shea, M.P. Tully, Nicole Couture-Lord and more!

You may even stumble upon the owner David Dossett who brings the space to life with his animated and enthusiastic personality sharing details of the artists and fun facts on how he transformed the space. This space truly is proof of an artistic vision coming to life with community support and creativity coming together creating a magical experience for all those looking to wander off the beaten path.

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Next, we make our way to Martello on Brock between Wellington St and King St a dynamic art space sister to the well-known Martello Alley. Two art stores that are different, much like the perfect seasoning blend of salt and pepper, Martello on Brock and its sister store harmonize in their uniqueness, states visionary owner, David Dossett. Drawing inspiration from the retro vibes of Ontario and the eclectic charm of Montreal, Martello on Brock showcases the work of emerging and established artists alike, providing a space for creative exploration of captivating artwork, pottery, gifts, prints, greeting card and more in a historic setting.

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Birdgirl Arts

Our final stop on this whirlwind tour of downtown Kingston's art galleries brings us to Birdgirl Arts located on the loft level of Antique Emporium on Princess St. The owner and artist in question - Sasha Jimenez French, a multidisciplinary Cuban American artist, with strong ties to the vibrant arts community in Kingston.

This gallery and studio space offers an intimate setting to the behind the scenes of her work in action but most importantly, a space that fosters a sense of empowerment and community, encouraging others to embark on their own creative journeys.

Known for bold and beautiful oil and acrylic pieces, French’s art is a literal world of vibrancy drawing inspiration from her Cuban heritage with multi coloured portraits and spectacular landscapes.

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As we conclude our tour of Downtown Kingston's art galleries, we're reminded of the city's vibrant spirit and creative energy. So, the next time you find yourself wandering the streets of downtown Kingston, be sure to take a detour through its thriving art scene - you never know what hidden treasures you might discover along the way!

Don’t forget! For one night only, Friday, April 5, 2024, join Downtown Kingston as they celebrate all things art and host the annual Art After Dark event. Art galleries and shops will open their doors for the community to come together to enjoy a free walking tour!

Click here to learn more about Art After Dark!l

Rosalyn Gambhir

I’m a daydreamer, a foodie, an adventurer, and an explorer. But most of all, a tourist in my own backyard of the limestone city rediscovering old favourites and hidden gems. As a proud Kingstonian for over a decade and an alumna of Queen's University, I has thrived in this vibrant community, which has fueled her creativity and passion for building a strong online community and supporting local businesses through my blogging, social media and freelance writing.

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