Sapphire Moon Gallery and Gift, which opened in Parksville last month, has always been a passion project for owner Randy Murray.
Murray said it’s always been his dream to open a gallery, and since moving to the area in April, he has been able to follow that dream.
“It’s kind of in my wheelhouse,” said Murray, who is also a photographer. “I always wanted to have a gallery, and now I do.”
When Murray and his husband moved to the Island earlier this year, he said he noticed that the art community was huge in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
“I kind of got the opinion, or impression, that there’s not enough venues. That’s what really snowballed it. I wanted to go to galleries,” Murray said.
So, Murray took it upon himself to open another gallery.
He said he wanted Sapphire Moon to be a venue for the artists.
Sapphire Moon, located at 1A-162 Harrison Ave. in Parksville, is open Tuesday to Saturday.
While Murray is working with established artists, he said he also wants to work with new artists, to help them with other aspects such as their website and social media.
“In my mind, it’s coming from that angle of new to the businesses. A couple of artists, they don’t understand the business side of it, and I’d like to help them,” said Murray, adding that he wants to work as a facilitator.
One of the artists featured in Sapphire Moon is Qualicum Beach artist Kris Poitras. Murray said Poitras was on board with the gallery from the start.
“This summer when I first brought up me potentially opening a gallery, it was like wedding bells went off,” Murray said of approaching Poitras about Sapphire Moon. “It was like a marriage. On his (Kris’) side, he was like, I’ve got work. I’ve got lots of stuff.”
Murray said he though Poitras would have five or 10 pieces, but little did he know that Poitras’ work would be able to fill the small gallery section of the store.
Along with Poitras there is Parksville photographer Tanya Greene; Sunny Houck with handmade scarves, jewelry and crocheted animals; Dee Fontans with jewelry made from recycled bicycles; abstract painter Colleen Dickinson; and handcrafted driftwood, sea glass and beach rock pieces from Heather Halter-Hoffer. Murray also has some of his photography work showcased in Sapphire Moon.
“I honestly had my first camera at three months old,” Murray said. “My mom bought it to take photos of me growing up and I started playing with it at a year and a half old and then I started taking photos, so it’s always been with me. My cameras have never gone too far from my sight, it’s just developed over the years.”
With his photography, Murray said he doesn’t care about the technical component, it’s the impact that matters.
“I understand it, but you need to know the rules to break them,” he said. “Does it tell a story, that’s it. It’s so basic for me, in that aspect.”