Who We Are

An Art Gallery with a Cultural Mission and Community Involvement

As a registered charity, our purpose is to support and promote the work of artists and artisans in various visual, craft, and performing art forms.

As a charitable organization supporting arts and culture in a community context, our mandate is to offer a platform for artists working in a broad range of media and at many career stages. We offer exhibition opportunities to emerging and unrepresented artists, as well as inviting established artists to share their work in our unique historical building and community context.

As a community-oriented organization, we have refocused our attention on raising awareness of, and introducing the community to, cultural diversity and appreciation. We see our cultural role as a way to facilitate mutual understanding within the community, through workshops, lectures, events and more.

Our History

Arbor Gallery is located within the historic Higginson House at 36 Home Avenue in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. Vankleek Hill is celebrated as the “Gingerbread Capital of Ontario” for its many heritage homes featuring distinctive woodwork set against red brick. Higginson House is one such building, constructed in 1856 by gentleman farmer William Higginson. With its original wide-plank red pine floors, its unique mouldings and its grand proscenium arch spanning the main Gallery space, it is an elegant setting for locals and visitors alike to view ever-changing art exhibitions.

Higginson House has a storied history as a cultural venue. In the 1970s, before it became a gallery, it was the Alpen School of Art, offering workshops by visiting artists and classes for local high school students. In 1993 it was purchased by Phil Arber, a major advocate for arts and culture in the region, and he opened the Arbor Gallery under its roof in 1994. In 2007, the Arbor Gallery was incorporated as a nonprofit organization, and in 2013, it became a registered charitable organization with a mandate of exhibiting contemporary art. In 2016 the Gallery expanded its mission to support further artistic forms, encompassing visual arts, fine crafts, and music. Now, Arbor Gallery is a premiere venue for exhibitions and events that celebrate the diverse artists at work in our community, and through its workshop and school outreach activities, it is an important resource for emerging artists of all ages. 

Fun Facts about the Arbor Gallery and Higginson House

Our Team

Andrea Belcham (Photo Credit: Yellow Rose Photography)
(Photo Credit: Yellow Rose Photography)

Andrea Belcham
Artistic Director

Andrea holds a BA with a Specialization in English Literature, an MA in Cultural Studies, and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management. She has worked for over two decades in the field of communications as a writer, editor, and promoter of cultural events.

She also leads a dual life as a textile artist with a focus on creating functional, sustainable pieces using techniques like natural dyeing, upcycling, and slow stitching, and she has led many workshops with youth and adults sharing her skills and inviting dialogue about the textile arts.

As Artistic Director, Andrea oversees the Gallery’s programming and education, as well as its fundraising efforts. Working closely with the Artistic Coordinator and the Board, she helps manage the operations of the Gallery.

She can be reached at [email protected]

Josh Clendenin
Artistic Coordinator

Josh brings a wealth of experience to his role as an accomplished actor and theatre practitioner. With a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre (Performance and Directing) and in French, he has honed his skills over the years. Josh’s passion for education led him to teach foreign languages, yoga, and Drama at both secondary and university levels in the U.S. and Canada. Furthering his academic pursuits, Josh attained a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Practice from the University of Alberta, focusing on language embodiment in performance.

Since 2019, he has been an integral part of our team at the gallery, serving as the Artistic Coordinator. In his capacity, Josh works closely with the Artistic Director and the Board, ensuring the smooth execution of our artistic endeavours. His primary responsibilities include artist liaison, exhibition scheduling and preparation throughout the year, and the coordination of our dedicated volunteers.

To connect with Josh or learn more about our gallery, reach out to him at [email protected].

Board of Directors

Photo of Sylvie Bouchard

Sylvie Bouchard
Chair of the Board
Treasurer

Alison Collard
Secretary

Susie Fairbrother
Director

Photo of Garnet Millar

Garnet Millar
Director

Irene Ogrizek
Director

Jessica Sarrazin
Director

Stephanie Pete
Director

Volunteers

The operations and activities of Arbor Gallery are possible thanks to the work of many volunteers. We are grateful to all of our artists, artisans and art enthusiasts who fill many roles including greeters, coordinators, custodians, charitable gaming volunteers, board members, team leaders and more. They are the backbone of our organization and we thank them.