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BEAR RIVER, Nova Scotia
“Have you ever noticed that when you ask someone to describe their favourite vacation spot, it is extremely common for responses to include ‘by the lake’ or ‘by the ocean?’” says Carmen Chamberland of Bear River.
There is actually something to this, she says.
Chamberland and her husband, David, recently discovered a book called Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols. In it, the author talks about the effects of water on the brain and psyche as our “blue mind” - this, she says, is a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peace, unity and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.
“David and I have always recognized this, but never have we experienced the positive effects of water to the extent that we have in Bear River,” she says.
Chamberland says she can easily see how this theory of blue mind impacts visitors to Bear River who, on many occasions, have expressed how they feel “calm and happy” in the village, although they are not sure why.
“We are also often asked why artists have, for decades, moved to our little village along the river. Wouldn’t any environment that brings out your blue mind be an ideal stimulus for creativity?” she asks.
With this in mind, the husband and wife team are about to open the Blue Mind Gallery in Bear River. This will be a space for visitors to discover some of the creativity that is found in and around Nova Scotia, including works from many Bear River artists. They have fine art and craft of various mediums including jewellery, leatherwork, woodwork (both functional and sculptural), glasswork, fibre art of numerous types, functional and sculptural ceramics, books by Atlantic Canadian authors, watercolour, oil and acrylic paintings, pen/pencil and charcoal drawings, some body products, fine art cards, and lots more. At this time, the gallery features close to 50 different artists.
Unlike most gallery owners, Chamberland says she and her husband are not visual artists. Rather, she describes herself as a businesswoman who loves art. She says her skill set lies more in organizing the beautiful works of others rather than creating works of her own. For three years prior, Chamberland was the manager of a large, local gallery where she gained experience.
Her husband David is a musician who plays quite regularly in Digby and Annapolis County for various public and private functions. If you’re lucky, Chamberland says, you might catch a little live music at the gallery, too, as David rarely leaves home without his guitar.
Making the space extra special to the couple, she says, is the fact they got married in the hall above where the gallery is located in 2015.
The official opening of the Blue Mind Gallery will be on Aug. 2 from 7-9 p,m. There will be live music, refreshments, door prizes and fabulous art and crafts, says Chamberland.
The Chamberlands are excited about their new venture.
“When I worked at the other gallery, I had many tourists tell me that they wished there were more galleries to visit while they were in Bear River. They loved the village and wanted to spend more time here,” she says.
Go online: Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/bluemindgallery/
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