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Restaurants creating gallery-type atmosphere

“I would rather see local art, than a (Vincent) van Gogh piece, in the setting of the park, because it forms a good representation of the town, and it gives you a good idea of where you are,” said Kathryn Regnier, from Drayton Valley.

Dana Lyon owner/operator of Coco’s Cafe explained why he chooses to decorate his café with local art. “It shows the vision of the individual and their perception of the surroundings,” he said.

“(The art) not only sells, but customers also inquire about the individual artist’s portfolio and web sites,” said Lyon.

Carmyn Effa from Edmonton was enjoying a beverage at Coco’s. She appreciated an Alain Denis photograph that gave her new perspective of the park.

“We just did that hike but we didn’t see it that way,” she said.

As one’s taste in food varies from another’s, the same goes for art. This couldn’t be more true for Dave Husereau, owner of Evil Dave’s Restaurant. Graffiti-style, black-line art by Tristan Overy decorates the walls of his restaurant. Husereau has trouble keeping the cartoonish creations on the walls.

“It’s a suitable style of art for my style of restaurant,” said Husereau.

The style of art in Walter’s Dinning Room at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre also seems fitting for Jane Shepherd’s work, which takes on a more Native Heritage theme. The Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre is owned by the Sawridge Native Band.

“We like to support local artists and promote Jasper’s heritage and the heritage of artists,” said Steven Watters, General Manager of the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre. “And it just looks really good.”

Watters gives the credit to Marianne Garrah who started putting artwork into restaurants around 1995. Garrah owns her own framing business, Artist’s Own, and has built up a close relationship with Jasper artists over the years.

“It offered restaurant owners a chance to cover their walls for no cost and offered Jasper artists an opportunity to showcase their work,” said Garrah.

Garrah said she is increasingly seeing travellers seeking cultural experiences.

“Art in restaurants, while minor compared to a theatre or arts centre, is one recognizable step that our local businesses are taking towards recognizing culture as a key factor in the local economy,” said Garrah. “And a truly sustainable economy, may I point out!”


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