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by C.J. Veach

Over the winter a number of Prince County artists have had the chance to display their works at the same venue. The Lighthouse Gallery, located at 401 Water Street in Summerside, has been the off-season home for these works which will soon be making the summer gallery circuit. Local artist and retired dentist, Dr. John Robertson, is responsible for the gallery that shares space with his antique store.

"I'd talked to several local artists about the need to display their talents year round. So we got a dozen or so people to bring in their works and see how the response was," said Robertson, himself a noted woodcarver. "Right now we have around fifty pieces, mostly paintings and prints, but we also exhibit ceramics and wheat weaving."

With the tourist season upon us, many of these works will end up in galleries along the north shore of PEI and in Charlottetown. But Robertson would also like to establish his business as a place tourists would frequent.

"There really hasn't been an antique dealer like this in Summerside for fifteen years. There's Eptek and Lefurgey Cultural Centre but they're more for exhibition than sale," Robertson stated. "There's a market for local artists depicting local scenes and we'd like to help expand the demand."

"There's a lot of talented artists up here [Prince County] but most people are unaware unless they happen to see a work in someone's house."

And according to Robertson increased sales equal increased production by the artists. "We want to help creative people maintain a livelihood from their talents and thus they'll create more works of art for all to enjoy."

Robertson's business also houses Wayne's Custom Framing. "It's a good fit for the gallery to be able to acquire a frame or change the existing frame when the customer buys a painting," Robertson noted. "It's also a good fit to combine the antique dealership with the gallery. We really are a fun place to browse and pick up a collectable."

Though many works will soon be leaving Lighthouse Gallery, Robertson will welcome them back come fall. "The gallery has been fairly well received, mostly word of mouth, but we plan to keep spreading the word that these artworks are available year round and may even expand our display next fall."

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