Our Story & Philosophy
Free Spirit Studio Gallery & Shop acknowledges with gratitude that we are on the traditional and unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.
Free Spirit Gallery & Shop is an art space on beautiful Gabriola Island showcasing local contemporary art and craft from emerging to established artists on Gabriola and across BC. It was established in November 2021 by Catherine Hallam. Free Spirit Gallery aims to provide a platform for artists to flourish and for collectors to expand their collections. Free Spirit Shop is where local artisans (primarily Gabriolan) and makers can display and sell their beautiful handmade work. We also carry a growing selection of brands of Art Supplies to service the artists on the island. Gabriola 'Isle of the Arts' ranks sixth across Canada with respect to concentration of artists in the local workforce (5.8% compared to the national average of 0.8%).
Free Spirit Gallery & Shop aims to be a space for people to come and immerse themselves in a creative space for both creating, collecting and appreciating visual arts. Free Spirit provides an LGBTQ+ friendly space for artists, artisans and visitors.
Catherine Hallam (Owner & Director of Free Spirit Gallery)
A resident of Gabriola for over 10 years, but a global citizen at heart, Catherine opened Free Spirit Gallery Shop & Studio in 2021, fulfilling a lifelong dream to create a space where both emerging and established artists could be celebrated, and to launch a platform that makes art accessible to everyone and is rooted in community-driven principles.
After more than 20 years teaching art, and 7 years spent living and working in Uganda, and China, she cultivated her passion for art and art history by experiencing the diverse cultural and creative depths around her and developed close connections with galleries and local artists.
Given her background in education and the arts, Catherine brings a unique style and approach towards the artists she features and shows she curates. Her commitment to social impact and equity underpins everything she does. She also remains true to her roots in education by conducting occasional demos/workshops for kids and adults in the gallery & wider community..
Catherine is a proud member of the Gabriola Arts Council, Arts BC and Gabriola Chamber of Commerce.
She holds a B.Design in Visual Communication from NSCAD University, a B.A.A. in Fashion Marketing from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), and a B.A. Art Education from University of British Columbia.