Anticipation is building for the Saturday, June 13 opening of the Route 22 Collective Gallery of the Cochrane Integrated Arts Society (CIAS).

The multi-visual arts gallery has been several months in the making and is located in Cochrane Town Square Plaza next to the Pet Planet. 

Gallery director Lara Kruger, who has vast art knowledge and gallery experience, says the collective has now grown to over 30 artists who work in a variety of different disciplines. There's everything from painters and sculptures to photographers.

"It has all been happening behind the scenes with our working committee for the last few months," she says. "Everybody is a volunteer, and it's all kind of coming together. It's exciting to see it happen."

The gallery will open with over 40 pieces on display, each available for purchase. It will rotate monthly.

"We're starting with eight to 10 artists being represented in the various sections of the gallery. We'll have anywhere up to 20 and 30 at any given time."

"Anything that artists do that is unframed or of a smaller nature will go into the gift shop so that will have multiple more works."

Each creation will have passed the jury process developed by the artist collective. This means that patrons can expect a premium experience when they come through the door.

"That was a really important piece for those of us that were working on the early stages of this project to try to elevate the level of art that we are showcasing to our community," says Kruger. "The people that are exhibiting the work know that there's a standard of high quality and then the people that are coming into the gallery also have that expectation that there's going to be a high quality of art."

The size of the collective continues to grow.

"Just this last week, we've had quite a surge in membership. I think it's because people are seeing it's actually happening."

There is an opportunity for others to join. You can find more details here

The many dedicated volunteers who have created and will operate CIAS’s gallery of juried works are also resolved to expand their efforts into educational arts programming for people of all ages and skill levels.

CIAS officials say many have lent a hand in bringing this gallery to life. They appreciate the generous support of Grand Central Properties, Benjamin Moore Cochrane, Cochrane Home Hardware Building Centre, and several anonymous donations.

They also express gratitude to Cochrane Tourism executive director Jo-Anne Oucharek for her inspired efforts to find a location for Route 22 and acknowledge her tireless work for the benefit of Cochrane tourism.

Its regular hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.on Sundays.

CIAS opted for a soft open due to COVID-19 and will be holding a grand opening in the fall.

Also because of COVID-19, 10 people plus two volunteer staff will be allowed in the gallery at a time.