July 15, 2008
Mayberry Business Venture Employs Touchscreen Technology to Bring Art to the Public, Entice and Inform a New Generation of Art Collectors.
WINNIPEG’S MAYBERRY FINE ART LAYS CLAIM TO A CANADIAN FIRST IN OPENING ITS DIGITAL GALLERY UNDERGROUND NEAR PORTAGE & MAIN
Mayberry Business Venture Employs Touchscreen Technology to Bring Art to the Public, Entice and Inform a New Generation of Art Collectors
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The downtown business crowd can now take an art break on their coffee break thanks to Mayberry Fine Art’s new, semi-virtual business venture in the Shops of Winnipeg Square.
Tomorrow, the venerable art gallery, located nearby in the historic Exchange District, will officially launch its digital gallery in the underground retail concourse near the storied Portage and Main intersection. The innovative showcase which features almost 2000 works by some of Canada’s finest artists – including Wanda Koop and Joe Fafard -- is believed to be a Canadian first among commercial galleries.
Mayberry Fine Art’s satellite location employs touchscreen technology which literally puts the gallery’s vast inventory of contemporary and historical Canadian artworks at the fingertips of the myriad people who will pass by each workday. It is located directly under the Commodity Exchange Tower at 360 Main, across from the Square’s information kiosk and the corridor that leads to the Fort Street entrance.
The public can use the digital gallery free-of-charge to view Mayberry’s impressive collection of paintings and sculpture on a 32-inch LCD monitor. (If usage warrants, an additional monitor could be added in future.) Biographical narratives of each of 40 artists the gallery represents are also archived, as are biographies of almost 100 Canadian masters. As well, the interactive system allows users to e-mail specific images of the artworks to themselves or someone else.
Mayberry Fine Art’s innovative project -- in development for the last seven months -- is reminiscent of the digital gallery which opened with great fanfare in late April in St. Pancras International Station in London, England. That project – spearheaded by high-speed train company Eurostar in conjunction with the National Gallery – is said to be the first of its kind in the world. It features 100 European masterworks which can also be called up using touchscreens and viewed on monitors installed in the departure lounge.
“Like the National Gallery in the U.K., we like to think outside the box in devising ways to make fine art more accessible to the public, to people who do not regularly visit galleries,” Bill Mayberry, co-owner of Mayberry Fine Art, said. “Our concourse location is intended to shine a spotlight on the amazing works produced by Canadian artists past and present and, hopefully, entice and attract a new generation of collectors of quality, original art.
“We are open to exploring other models that might work in accomplishing this goal and the St.Pancras station project is certainly an inspiration in that regard,” added Mayberry, a 35-year veteran of the art business whose client list extends across Canada and the U.S.
Mayberry’s son Ryan, who also works in the family business, wrote the software program to run the touchscreen technology which interfaces with the gallery’s inventory system. Ryan Mayberry noted that without in-house expertise a project of this nature would probably cost more than $100,000 for software design and testing, likely making it cost-prohibitive for most small retail businesses, including other commercial galleries. The monitor and cabinetry for the digital gallery were sourced from Winnipeg firm Planned Legacy, well-known for its video donor walls.
In its Winnipeg Square space, Mayberry Fine Art will also exhibit a dozen or so paintings and sculpture. Each mini-exhibition will showcase the work of a different artist every month, beginning with B.C. artist Robert Genn. Some 13 landscapes, which Genn painted last month during his travels in the Whiteshell and on Lake of the Woods, will bring cottage country to the concourse.
Frank Sherlock, Manitoba vice-president of Crown Property Management Inc., the firm which manages and leases the Shops of Winnipeg Square, describes the Mayberry venture as “extremely unique.”
“We haven’t done anything like it before. I don’t think there is anything else like it in Winnipeg,” said Sherlock, who is currently overseeing a $2-million renovation of the Winnipeg Square property.
Sherlock added, “There are about 100,000 people per week who will pass by the Mayberry shop. Our marketing and leasing efforts are to attract tenants that will benefit from that concentrated traffic and serve the business people who work in this area. This location makes perfect sense for Mayberry Fine Art because of their existing customers and the potential for adding new clients.”
Mayberry Fine Art opened its main gallery in January, 2003, in the century-old Lake of the Woods Milling Co. building in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District.
The heritage building turned art gallery, located at 212 McDermot Avenue, represents a select group of contemporary Canadian artists such as Winnipeg’s Wanda Koop and Andrew Valko, Surrey’s Robert Genn, Saskatchewan’s Joe Fafard, and Ottawa’s Rose-Aimee Belanger, in addition to its significant activity in the historical art market.
The Mayberrys, with more than 35 years experience in fine art, sell, buy and lease paintings, can arrange special commissions, and also provide professional art appraisals, restoration and custom framing services. Visit www.mayberryfineart.com to learn more.