…there would be lively conversation about delicious food, wonderful art and community connections. Meet Brandy Brown, owner of These 4 Walls in Trenton.
Watershed Magazine: Your lovely big space is so varied. Would it be fair to say it’s part bistro and bar, part studio, part gallery and part event space?
Brandy Brown: Yes, that’s what it is, and it’s 2100 square feet!
That’s an ambitious amount of ground to cover; did you open with this vision or did the space evolve over time?
I opened the doors in August 2021 in the height of the pandemic with a complete vision. I wanted to change the environment of art. I didn’t want a traditional atmosphere that would come across as unapproachable and intimidating. I wanted to create a space where art can be celebrated, where all the senses can be enjoyed – from sight with the art and visual vignettes to the taste and smell of our bistro right in the gallery. Most Friday nights we provide live entertainment or an opening night to celebrate the themed exhibit for that month. My goal was to create something more of an artistic ecosystem, a hub so to speak, and I think it’s evolving all the time; but I have accomplished what I set out to do.
You’re the owner and you are also an artist. Do you lead some classes and workshops?
Yes, I’m the owner along with my husband, Peter Ringelmann, and I’m an artist and I do give classes and workshops. I basically do everything here.
You offer a simple but tasty menu and the dishes have intriguing names – the Pratt donair, Van Dyke Keto Board, Cezanne Ricotta and Pear torte.
Yes, we name our dishes after famous artists. Sometimes there’s an extra connection to the subject matter they painted. Our menu is simple but creative and we do it all ourselves.
We spotted a photo of you handing over a lovely big cheque to Community Living. Tell us about what community engagement means to you and if there are other ways you contribute.
I founded a non-profit called the G. May Project, which helps families in Quinte affected by childhood sexual assault. We will be rolling out healing programs for these families at no cost to them. We also offer free collage nights on Wednesdays; we provide all the materials and put out a donation jar. We’re hoping to raise enough money to install a large painted mural somewhere downtown Quinte West.
The walls are beautifully decorated with original art. How often do you present a new exhibition?
Our exhibit or show wall changes monthly. Sometimes it’s a specific artist, sometimes it’s an open call where multiple artists submit and contribute to a juried exhibition.
What else will visitors to These 4 Walls find?
We typically do a high tea the last weekend of each month; a themed ladies’ night the last Thursday of each month; and a barn quilt workshop also on the last weekend of the month. We’re responsible for over 300 barn quilts in Quinte! It’s a popular workshop where guests leave with a finished simple star barn quilt on birch. We do open studio on Wednesdays during the day where people can come and work on their projects in our space during business hours. Tuesdays are kids’ classes where kids enroll monthly, with a different medium explored each month; and Friday nights are typically private functions or live entertainment, and a once-a-month opening night for the new exhibit.
Tell us a bit more about yourself.
I was born and raised in Trenton and Carrying Place. I did move away to attend university in St. Catharines. I have two degrees, one in general arts – business and economics – and another in adult education. Now, I live not far from downtown Trenton with my husband Peter, golden retriever Cooper, and my three children who are home periodically from post-secondary schooling.