There is an active artist’s scene in the seaside community. Bringing as much as possible under the same banner is ArtShediac. A not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and artists of Shediac. At present there are two busy individuals that manage the day-to-day operations of the group, Colleen Shannon and Susan Jardine. Both are artists and go-getters.
|Susan, a friend and Colleen.|
The Scribbler is beyond happy to have them visit with us today to tell us more of this vibrant and thriving community. Susan has been a guest before and you can read her interview HERE.
Thank you, ladies, for joining us this week. Let’s chat!
Allan: Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what ArtShediac is all about, please tell us a bit about yourselves.
Colleen: Thinking back to when I was very young, I was the child that did not do the same play things as other children my age. I spent a lot of time alone and preferred to read, draw sew and enjoy nature. I loved the woods, fields of flowers, bubbling brooks and spending time with my grandmother who had a very strong influence in my life. As a high school student, I was an average kid who excelled in art class and in the sewing room. My first full-time job was with a daily paper as a commercial artist in the advertising department. Then of course like so many artists; future jobs, marriage and raising a family took me on other paths. In 2013 after my youngest child left for university, I took a graphic design program which has been the catalyst for my remerging artistic endeavours.
|Colleen & Helen.|
Susan: A longtime friend of mine said to me at one time that I talked about art a great deal during our 40 plus years of friendship. I suppose that was true, however, as I look back it wasn’t really until 2001 when I took a watercolour painting class in Charlottetown while on a job I had there for about a year that I began to explore making art. I did nothing further with it until 2006 after having walked the Camino Santiago in 2005. At that time, I branched out into acrylics and took several workshops in Vancouver and Victoria. In 2010 I was involved with a painting group in the small town I lived in in France. It was not until I arrived in Shediac in 2010 that I decided to actively produce and sell my art.
Allan: Please tell us about ArtShediac. How did it come into being and how old is the organization?
Susan: A group of us interested in community development decided to hold what we called “Conversations” where we brought people together to discuss ideas and how we could make our experience living in Shediac even better. Out of that came several projects including Cine Shediac and ArtShediac and CAPS another arts group that gets together to paint was revived.
Colleen: As Susan has just explained, I also attended the Conversations meetings that explored ideas to create activities to benefit our town of Shediac. When we broke down into smaller groups to brainstorm the possibilities per topic, I joined the group exploring what an art group in Shediac would look like. Three of us formed an art group which eventually brought us to where we are today seven years later.
Allan: Last summer, ArtShediac was at the Pointe-du-Chene wharf which has become a social gathering spot. Art on the Wharf was a great idea. How did it come about and what was your role in it?
Colleen: Actually, Susan was approached by a Wharf committee member, who also happens to be an ArtShediac member. He told her there was a vacant building for use on the newly renovated deck at the Wharf. Susan brought that information to the ArtShediac committee who quickly made arrangements to rent the vacant building as a gallery and make the gallery available for ArtShediac members to display their works for sale; creating a new source of income for them during the pandemic. The ArtShediac committee soon came up with the name ‘Art on the Wharf’ which encapsulates the type of business and its location. ArtShediac proudly boasts $4300 in sales our first year in business during a global pandemic!
Susan: I remember driving home from that initial meeting being so excited about the prospect of an art gallery on the wharf that if ArtShediac decided not to seize the opportunity, I would. Didn’t know how I would do it but I was determined. As it happened others agreed with me and out of that came Art on the Wharf.
Allan: How has the pandemic affected you each personally and how did it affect plans for ArtShediac?
Susan: I have been very busy with Probus Club of Shediac Shores as Program Chair finding guest speakers to present at our monthly meetings via Zoom. I presented a 5-session cooking class called “Simply Fabulous Food” via Zoom for Tantramar Seniors College. I am participating in a weekly current events class from TSC via Zoom. I hold biweekly art workshops for OpVets here in Shediac (the only OpVets from across Canada that has a visual arts component). I have been working on achieving a daily walking steps count of 10,000. And I am producing some art. I did quite well in December 2020 selling my art (small pieces) on Facebook. I have been working on motivating myself to produce a painting a day for posting on FB. That seems to have eluded me so far in 2021 although as I said I managed it quite well in Nov Dec of 2020. I had been showing my art at a newly opened gallery in Moncton called The Acorn Studio for the past year, however, the owner is closing and switching to a digital gallery. I much prefer the eyes and hands on gallery experience for my appreciators. Seeing art and examining the pieces in person seems to me to be a much more whole-body experience than merely viewing a photograph. The nuances of texture, colour, materials, that one can see in person is the experience I want for the appreciators of my art.
Colleen: As devastating as a global pandemic is for many, many reasons; for me on a personal level I explored new ways to achieve what I would normally be doing within my artistic life. A large part of this exploration required learning to give my classes online and to continue to connect with participants in the most personal method possible. Not being hands-on created the need for me to use more descriptive language, instruction and enhanced listening skills. I also developed a heightened awareness of the need to recognize the visual clues of struggle by an individual and how to meet their needs.
Allan: What is the criteria for being a member of ArtShediac and what is involved?
Colleen: Simply file out a membership form which requires a $20 annual fee. And I would like to emphasize you do not have to be an artist to join us. Anyone who appreciates art in all of its forms and would like to receive notifications of upcoming events can become a member. Patronship and donations are always appreciated.
Allan: What can we expect from ArtShediac in the near and distant future?
Susan: ArtShediac will soon send a callout for participants to display visual art and literature at the ‘Art on the Wharf’ gallery in Pointe-du-Chêne. We plan to host a variety of events on the newly expanded deck and are looking for poets, musicians, dancers and theatre performers who would like to participate. The gallery will kick off the July1st opening with a members and friends party!
Thank you, Susan and Colleen, for sharing news about ArtShediac.
****It was great fun and exposure for my novels last year and I for one, appreciate your efforts. It’s a wonderful venue.
Website for ArtShediac is coming soon with links to the Facebook page and Instagram.