Goderich - 33 East Street Gallery
The latest storefront in Goderich to be transformed into a creative space can be found at 33 East St. The couple behind the revisioning are Mark Heinitz and Gerri Catherwood, a creative duo who had a vacation home north of Goderich for many years. Just as they were heading into their retirement years, the former retail space came on the market spurring them to “retire to unretire”.
Although Mark was encouraged in art from a young age, likely due to inheriting an artistic gene or two from his grandparents who graduated from the Berlin School of Art and went on to teach art, he was sidetracked into a career in marketing. Similarly, Gerri graduated with a degree in design but ultimately spent 23 years managing an agency in London that supports vulnerable families.
With the purchase of the building just off The Square, the couple could realize a dream and create the perfect live-work-create space. In 2021, they began the renovation process with Gerri designing the space, and both Mark and her doing the bulk of the work themselves over that winter.
33 East Street Gallery opened in the spring of 2022, with Mark’s paintings making up the bulk of the exhibition. They quickly set about getting to know local artists, especially those who work in a contemporary style, something quite unique in a small town. They found like-minded artists in Goderich and nearby locales such as Benmiller, Seaforth, Bayfield, Clinton and Grand Bend.
One of Mark’s favourite exhibits is from a young man that he happened upon while strolling around The Square. Ken Gordon, a self-described drifter, was sitting in the park in the centre of the downtown when Mark noticed him sketching, so he wandered over and introduced himself. He eventually convinced Ken to allow him to frame his pieces and display them in the gallery to sell.
As well as paintings and sketches, the gallery hosts artists working in a variety of media, including various sculptures and glass.
During the winter of 2022, Mark and Gerri renovated the apartment upstairs and created a studio in the back of the main floor gallery, completing the dream of a live-work-create space and their “unretirement” goal.
Living in downtown Goderich has also become part of the allure of their unretirement. On top of the walkability of The Square and the friendliness of their business neighbours, they are extremely impressed with the number of activities that the BIA and the town provide for residents and visitors.
They are looking forward to discovering new artists in the area and hosting events in their gallery space. To see what is coming up in their space and on their walls, follow them on Instagram @33eaststreetgallery or just drop in at, you guessed it, 33 East Street, Goderich.