As soon as Lara, owner and head curator of Katie + Gunner, walked into the vacant office building at 141 Bannatyne Avenue she knew she had to have it. The open concept space with striking hardwood floors and a marvelous brick feature wall was the perfect setting for a contemporary art gallery. “We couldn’t let it go.”
After signing on the dotted line and acquiring the gorgeous building, Lara assumed that everything that followed would go according to plan. “We were supposed to open on April 1st, 2020.” As it turned out, however, the world had other plans. The initial lockdown threw a wrench in Lara’s timeline, and she wasn’t able to open to the public until June 2020.
“We have never been open without restrictions in place.”
Despite opening a business during one of the most unpredictable years of our lifetime, Lara and her family have managed to pivot continuously and they have wowed Winnipeggers with their well-thought- out exhibitions.
Katie + Gunner’s first show put on an incredible display of Inuit Art that included both contemporary and traditional pieces. “I have a background in Inuit Art and that is where my strengths lie,” explains Lara.
While Inuit Art is her passion, Lara explains that Katie + Gunner aims to exhibit many different styles of art. “We are a contemporary art gallery. It’s a blanket term that stretches through many different genres.” In addition to Inuit Art, Katie + Gunner proudly displays Folk Art, Textile Art, Photography and designer vinyls (yup!).
2020 proved to Lara that she can still succeed at her dreams despite economic challenges, and it also showed her how great her intuition is. “We had two exhibits that were so timely!” One was a protest pop-up display that went live as protests were rampant across North America. “We planned that one a year prior and couldn’t believe how relevant it was when it launched.”
Since re-opening again after surviving a second lockdown, Lara has a newfound pep in her step. She is looking forward to entertaining locals with her unique exhibitions, including an upcoming Photography show.
“Owning a gallery is quite fun, frankly. Anything you can imagine you can do!”