Calgary artists open gallery in Cochrane

Two veteran farmers’ market vendors have opened a store and gallery in the town of Cochrane, southwest of Calgary.

Calgary artists Alexei Villaseca and Alejandra Reina wanted to go into business together and after pricing out their options, the mother and son decided to open Sterling Gallery outside of the city limits.

“We are Calgary artists,” Villaseca said. “We really wanted to be in the city, but it was just too expensive.”

The 36-year-old is primarily a painter, who creates his prints on various T-shirts. His mother makes her own jewelry and other designs such as capes and ponchos.

The mother-son duo has been operating at farmers’ markets for over 15 years and wanted to expand their business by opening a retail space.

“There was no room to grow without a location,” said Villaseca.

Home Studio: Artist Alexei Villaseca poses for a portrait at his at his southwest Calgary home studio. (Photo by Claire McMillan/The Press)
Home Studio: Artist Alexei Villaseca poses for a portrait at Cochrane home studio. (Photo by Claire McMillan/The Press)

Villaseca worked on extensive renovations for the store when they initially rented the space, but now spends his time at home working on pieces for the gallery, while Reina runs and manages the shop.

Villaseca began pushing the idea of opening a store to his mother because Reina used to have a jewelry store in the Devonish building located on 17th Avenue SW.

Reina hopes her new store will have more customers than the outdoor markets because it will be open year-round.

Villaseca said it’s nice to have a place to showcase their work, but they also intend to feature other artists in the space.

There was no room to grow without a location. -Alexei Villaseca

Villaseca’s and Reina’s designs can be found online at Made Urban.

Reina said people are now more conscientious about what they consume.

“It’s getting back to more local.”

About Claire McMillan 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Claire McMillan worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2015-16 academic year.