Where artists works were showcased for three-week periods..
Where artists works were showcased for three-week periods.where artists works were showcased for three-week periods. Although MAG had exclusive
rights to sell its artists creations within an 80-kilometre radius, artists usually sold their works through up
to 20 different outlets.
Growing up, Pal had been passionate about both art and science and had a distinct talent for photography.
By his late teens, he had turned this pastime into his first entrepreneurial experience: a photography
Temporary displays of individual artists works designed to build awareness for the parties involved and to draw in art
service for weddings and various other functions. Pal graduated high school at the top of his class and
subsequently attended the prestigious bachelor of fine arts program at Queens University in Kingston,
Ontario. Although Pal had always had a keen understanding of fine art, he commented that his time at
Queens opened his eyes to the artistic process.
With a family cottage in the area, Pal had become familiar with Bayfield at a young age. Recognizing it as
a developing tourist market and underserved with fine art, he started MAG in 1988, at the age of 20,
shortly after completing his second year of university. Pal rented space in a building near downtown
Bayfield and established Marten Arts Gallery, featuring his middle name “Marten.” Although Pal had
intentions of returning to school to finish his degree, the time commitment required to run the business
prevented him from doing so. One year after opening, MAG moved to its current downtown location.
In 1995, the buildings owner was looking for a quick sale, and Pal purchased it for $217,000, about half
its appraised value at the time. Shortly thereafter, he met and married Judy Stephenson. Stephenson began
working at MAG shortly after marrying Pal. Despite a lack of formal training in art or sales, she was a
good fit for the business with her outgoing nature, strong organizational skills and exposure to art while
dating Pal. On the job, Stephenson quickly developed an eye for art and eventually took on sole
responsibility for showcasing decisions and artist relations. In 1999, the couple built an addition onto the
back of the building, where they planned to live and start a family. Both Pal and Stephenson enjoyed
running day-to-day operations at MAG, and they planned to continue indefinitely with the business.