The Buhler Gallery at St. Boniface Hospital recently celebrated its fifth anniversary with the launch of a new book commemorating its history.
Visual Celebrations was officially launched Dec. 4 at McNally Robinson at Grant Park Shopping Centre.
"I think the fifth anniversary is a very important milestone for the Buhler Gallery," said Pat Bovey, project lead for the gallery.
"The people who had the vision to start a gallery in a hospital are what I say affectionately ‘really gutsy.’ It was a big step for a hospital to take. It’s impact is far larger than any of us anticipated."
The book documents in detail the impact the gallery has had on the community.
"We used this occasion of the fifth anniversary to bring the work together in the book," Bovey said.
"Together it’s made a compendium of the work about 40 Manitoba artists. It’s been a wonderful, intense labour of love but bringing the work together has been very important."
All sales from the books will be invested back into the gallery.
"Every penny that comes from the sale of this book goes into the Buhler Gallery Endowment Fund in the Hospital Foundation," Bovey said. "Anybody who buys the book will be supporting the ongoing health of the Buhler Gallery."
The gallery has received more than 75,000 visitors to date. According to the book, 50% of visitors had never been to a museum or gallery before their visit to the Buhler Gallery.
It’s something Bovey said doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
"The hospital serves the province. Patients are flown in from communities where there are no galleries and museums," she said. "What we’ve found are a third are patients, a third are staff who come into the gallery to de-stress and a third are general visitors to the hospital. The average length of stay in the gallery is longer than I thought it would be."
The longer stays could be due to Bovey’s awareness and consideration of a diverse public.
"I try to do it so that we’re sensitive to the visitor who can stay a few minutes or to the visitor who can stay a long time," she said. "Having that visual art outreach is monumental. There’s something to be said for the healing power of art."
An art raffle has been launched as well and includes three pieces of artwork from past Buhler Gallery exhibitors. Tickets are $10 each or three for $20 and will be on sale until Jan. 22. All the funds raised from the raffle will go back into the Buhler Gallery.