The house at 121 W. Margaret Lane has been everything from a bookstore to a violin repair shop. It’s been an ice cream parlour, a yoga studio, and a Town Hall meeting space; and for the last two years, it’s been an art gallery on a mission: to increase accessibility and inclusivity for artists and art-patrons in Hillsborough and beyond.
Margaret Lane Gallery is owned and operated by husband and wife duo Mary and David Knox, who decided to open the gallery after retiring. David, who has been taking pictures since he was 12 years old, said that he had always wanted somewhere to display his photos, and this seemed like the time.
Mary agreed, saying it was just the perfect time to do it. “Either we needed to put an addition onto our house or open a gallery,” she laughed.
After two years, there are over 25 artists who regularly display their work in Margaret Lane Gallery’s five rooms. Many of these artists are just beginning their professional art journey and have had trouble finding space to display their work–but that’s just the kind of artists the Knox’s are looking for.
“The unique thing about us is that we look for up-and-coming artists,” Mary said, “whereas other galleries often look for people with a track record.”
That focus feeds into their mission to increase accessibility and inclusivity in the art world by catering to many different ages and cultures. The Knox’s said that nothing should prevent someone from practising, enjoying, and learning about art.
“Accessibility is for artists to have access to a viewing public but also for the public to have access to art,” Mary said, “that art isn’t just for an exclusive set of people.”
That is also the reason Margaret Lane Gallery has one of its most unique elements: the children’s art corner.
While most art galleries allow children, parents may find it difficult to bring a young child into such a delicate and quiet space. But at Margaret Lane Gallery, children are more than welcome to come and create art of their own in the children’s corner while their parents enjoy the gallery.
“We want everyone to feel welcome here and to have a good experience,” Mary said, “to be able to enjoy it.”
Other unique elements of Margaret Lane Gallery include workshops for artists on the business of art, focusing on tips such as how to prepare art to be displayed in a gallery and how to approach galleries in the first place. Additional workshops are held by teaching artists to learn and practice new artforms, as well as an upcoming children’s workshop, which Mary and David hope to use as a learning experience to have similar events in the future.
To learn more about Margaret Lane Gallery visit https://www.margaretlanegallery.com/