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Buschlen Mowatt Galleries to Close

Another icon on the Vancouver art scene is closing its doors.

Buschlen Mowatt Galleries will be closing its West Georgia Street location at the end of April, 2011. Established in 1978 between partners Don Buschlen and Barrie Mowatt, the two grew their retail art business slowly until they opened the gallery space in 1987. It  evolved into a powerhouse over the following 24 years.

The similarities between us and them is remarkable. Buschlen and Mowatt had “real” jobs in the early years – one a lawyer, the other a psychologist. My “real” job for seven years while I built my art business was as a stock boy at a grocery store. Their company  was run by two people in a personal and a professional relationship, as is ours. They initiated a seven day retail week – something we’ve done from the start. They recognized the need to have a wide range of retail art price points available to their customers, as do we. They focused on not selling souvenir type art and while we have enjoyed successful sales of local wildlife sculptures, we have also exposed our collectors to my love of the human nude – a subject that is not exhibited much in Vancouver. In fact, we are marketing original stone sculpture, which is a very unique art form for Vancouver. Finally, they were committed to making the gallery experience a pleasant one doing as we do by creating a “living room” environment to relax the visitor and to allow them to see art in a home-like setting (of course they eventually moved to a big retail space, whereas we have decided to stay the course of inviting patrons to our personal space).

A major difference between us is that along with all the promotion and marketing of art, I also have to produce it!

Sadly, Buschlen died in 1992, but Mowatt has carried on the business and is now with a new partner. He will continue his connection with fine art by curating the Vancouver Biennale (check back for a post on that) and representing a Chinese artist. Travel is also in the works.

We wish Barrie Mowatt all the very best for the future!

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