Paris Crew Gallery and Creative Space Opens in Saint John, NB
Fine-art photographer and entrepreneur Jennifer Irving offers art lovers and artists alike a new destination inside reclaimed historical building in Uptown Saint John. Saint John, NB (September 23, 2020) – Visual artist Jennifer Irving has opened the doors to her new upmarket art gallery and creative space located on Water Street in Saint John, NB. Housed at 62 Water Street, an historical treasure lovingly brought back to life by Irving, the Paris Crew Gallery showcases fine art, craft and jewellery by top-tier Canadian artists, Irving’s fine-art photography studio and space for additional creative ventures.
“The gallery features incredible work by renowned artists, jewellery makers and craftspeople like Cliff Turner, Leigh Donovan and Leanne Macdonald” says Jennifer Irving, Paris Crew Gallery owner.
“I wanted to create a space to present exceptional Canadian artwork and also a place to host special events like wine tastings, artist talks, workshops and small, live musical performances. I couldn’t be happier to be contributing to Saint John’s vibrant creative community and Uptown Saint John’s renaissance. And as a visual artist and musician myself, combing my two passions is a dream come true.”
Constructed not long after the Great Fire of 1877, the building formerly housed E. Leonard & Sons, a steam boiler company, before the business closed in the mid 1950s. It sat vacant until Irving and her husband David imagined the potential underneath decades of dust and disrepair.
“It needed a lot of work, but the bones were strong and we knew 62 Water Street was the perfect place to have a gallery,” says Irving. She enlisted the talent and vision of architect Sanaz Shirshekar of Studio Shirshekar who worked alongside Irving to restore the space. “We gutted the building and rebuilt it, but we kept many of the original features including the wood-beam ceilings and raw brick walls. We wanted the building’s history to live on through the modern renovation that revitalized it. It was a balance between preservation and innovation. This building has a story, and we’re adding a new chapter to it.”
The gallery is named after the crew of four oarsmen from Saint John, NB who competed at the Paris Exposition in 1876. On the banks of the Seine River, stunned spectators watched as the underdog team won the International Rowing Regatta, defeating favoured crews from around Europe. It was there they earned their nickname, the Paris Crew. The tale of their triumph resurfaced in 1995 to a nationwide audience after being featured in the Heritage Minutes video collection.
“The Paris Crew is a point of pride for the city and a testament to what you can accomplish with the right team and a will to win. The story of their tenacity and determination is really inspiring. I wanted to pay homage to the spirit of that legacy while embarking on something new and special for Saint John and everyone who visits our beautiful Port City,” says Irving. “And I think despite everything happening in the world right now, family, community and beauty are the perfect things to be surrounded by.”
The Paris Crew Gallery is open from 11 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
For more information following the gallery on Instagram or Facebook @pariscrew.
Heather MacLean Reid