Professional visual artists in Niagara-on-the-Lake have taken a huge step toward promoting themselves as a group, forming a partnership that will help them network and support their community.
Lise Andreana, five-year chair of the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre, has planted the seed by creating the NOTL Arts Collective, for professional artists and representatives of art galleries and commercial art spaces.
It’s been a long-standing dream of hers, she says, to help promote the local visual art community. It is spearheaded by the Pumphouse, which as a non-profit organization is well-placed “to grow the artistic community, while building strong ties to our cultural partners through collaborative public events.”
To launch this initiative, the Pumphouse is hosting a Canada Day event, with residents and visitors to NOTL invited to participate in an art scavenger hunt, which will lead participants to various artworks and locations throughout town. About 16 local artists will be setting out pieces of their work for the public to view this July 1.
“We love engaging with our community and promoting the local arts scene,” says Rima Boles, Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre’s director. “The Canada Day Art Scavenger Hunt is a perfect opportunity to showcase the local talent, while having fun doing it,” she says.
It’s the first of many events which will be designed to increase awareness and appreciation of local visual arts, says Andreana. “By working together, there is so much potential for NOTL to become known as a destination for visual arts.”
In the months leading up to this event, the Pumphouse held virtual meetings with local professional artists and representatives of art galleries and commercial spaces to form the collective. The goals of those who attended, most of whom work from home and may at times feel disassociated from other artists, were prioritized as advancing the local arts community through promotion, partnership and networking initiatives, says Andreana.
“We’ve been talking to different artists, and they are wildly excited,” she says. “It was past time NOTL did something like this for us to come together and work as a group.”
It’s why Andreana joined the Pumphouse six years ago, she says. After travelling extensively to cities around the world with vibrant art communities, including her all-time favourite, Santa Fe, New Mexico, with its art colony, she has seen the economic benefit visual arts can bring to the economy, and envisioned something similar for NOTL, “which has everything it would take to make it happen.”
It has a strong, vibrant cultural community, but needed something to bring artists together to work as a group, she says, to strengthen and recognize visual arts.
The scavenger hunt, the start of many activities the arts collective is planning, is a fun way to do that, providing an opportunity to create awareness of the rich visual arts community, says Andreana.
“It’s the start of many projects we can do in the future.”
Art works will be displayed outside, on easels, for the scavenger hunt, which will be fun for the artists and participants, she adds.
Participants will have to answer questions to win an art-themed gift bag consisting of original artworks, art books, cards and more. The entry form to join is found on the ‘News’ section of the niagarapumphouse.ca website. The completed form must be dropped off before July 5 in the mail slot found by the door of the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre building. Alternatively, a scanned copy of the form can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the collective in its early stages, the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre invites NOTL professional artists to join the group and help build it. Information to participate is found on its website.