Not your typical art gallery, Noodle Gallery strives to provide more than just creative work but a new experience. They provide a warm and welcoming space where you can shop various items including artwork, handmade products and furnishings ranging from beautiful and elegant to whimsical and playful. Noodle Gallery is located in Alton, Ontario and features a variety of high quality items that aim to make art accessible to folks of various socioeconomic backgrounds with items featured at many different price points. Products offered range from home furnishings to fine art in addition to an artisan market full of handmade goods.
Noodle Gallery is situated in the Alton Mill Arts Centre and is fortunate to be surrounded by many other inspiring and talented spaces including studio space, museums, and other galleries. After spending a couple of years on the second floor, Noodle Gallery moved to the main floor in 2017. The origins of the gallery started with the owner and curator, Monica Kerr-Coster. Monica took the leap of opening Noodle Gallery following the encouragement and support of her husband Robin. Robin at the time was looking for a workspace outside of the house when he approached the owners of the Alton Mill Arts Centre about renting a space for his law firm. When he met with the owners, he mentioned how his wife was an artist and the idea of having Monica set up her artwork and display other artist’s work seemed to make total sense. Through this, they were also able to engage the creative side of Robin’s clients as well.
At first, the idea of opening a gallery was intimidating for Monica. She didn’t take any formal training in art history and had never worked at a gallery before but nonetheless – she is an artist. She was excited and energized to share the work of various artists including work completed from friends who were also artists. In the Fall of 2017, the previous gallery which was on the main floor closed. The owners had been so impressed by the space Monica was able to create upstairs that they believed the Noodle Gallery would be the perfect fit to be featured on the main floor. Following the move to the main floor, Monica’s husband Robin no longer works from the Alton Mill Arts Centre but continues to support Monica and Noodle Gallery.
Noodle Gallery aims to create a welcoming vibe; one where individuals of any background or art knowledge can experience a space of warmth and positivity rather than a space where they might feel judged or out of place. If you are a dog-lover, many visitors are excited to see Magnus who has been described as the perfect gallery dog. Magnus is a 100lb cross between an Irish Wolfhound and an Airedale. It is not often that he will get up and greet you, as he prefers to spend most of his days laying down and sleeping in the gallery. However, those stopping by the gallery love taking his picture.
Noodle Gallery has attracted many visitors, both locally and outside of town. Often, guests who are staying at the Millcroft Inn will stop in to check out the gallery. The gallery frequently welcomes visitors from across the lifespan including school-age teenagers to older, retired individuals.
One of the main attractions is the larger fine-art wall pieces that are full of colour. This includes a variety of different paintings from artists done on metal, wood or canvas. There are tons of smaller art pieces and a variety of handmade, well-crafted items too. There are items such as textile bags with cork bottoms, travel pouches, candles, stained glass, wooden items, greeting cards, pottery, rope baskets, wooden bowls and serving boards that would be perfect for serving up charcuterie boards for friends available for purchase. If you are a foodie like me, you might be attracted to some of the delicious items like the wood-fired coffee beans, olive oil and preserves like jams, jellies, pickled beets, spicy beans, and my favorite.. pickles! There are incredibly unique home furnishings and statement pieces like a bench made out of a Chevrolet tailgate from an old pick up truck, a rain-fall style coffee table made from Ontario license plates and another automotive themed furnishing, a very industrial lamp made with old automotive parts. These pieces are truly one of a kind and unique.
As the curator and owner, Monica dedicates time to visiting other markets and art fairs as she loves connecting with local artists to ensure she is able to bring in new items to keep things fresh at Noodle. There is a regular group of artists in addition to a rotating group of artists that showcase their work for sale. To keep things even more exciting and to offer visibility to new artists, there is a featured artist corner. This area is a dedicated space that showcases a new artist each month. Most often this is a new artist that does not usually sell their work at the Noodle Gallery. The entrance is also a changing display. This summer, there is an old road trip theme display in the works in which staff are creating pieces for.
Drop by the Noodle, a fun atmosphere that is welcoming and warm. Sit on the big couches and listen to the music playing in the background or browse the shop and get inspired by the artists. Look out for the DIY art kits and let your creativity flow!
By Brent Colmer