Thursday, April 17, 2014

Local art collective in works

There’s strength in numbers—which is why a workshop to develop a Fort Frances art collective is being set up for late October.
An art collective can be many things and fulfills many roles, explained local artist Lindsay Hamilton, who is organizing the workshop that’s being supported through the Ontario Arts Council.

“Really, it’s most of all about supporting each other,” Hamilton said of the initiative to improve support for artists and crafters throughout Northern Ontario.
The workshop, entitled “Networking and Supporting Working Together,” is set to run Saturday, Oct. 22, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Fort Frances Museum.
As part of the workshop, representatives of Kenora’s Lake of the Woods Arts Collective and the Aboriginal Artworks Group of Northern Ontario will be on hand to give insight on how to start an art collective in Fort Frances, Hamilton noted.
“[Both] have experience developing a creative collective or creating a networking situation, so artists can be further supported, chances of developing their work more, making connections—that sort of thing,” she explained.
And being from Thunder Bay and Kenora, they understand the unique situation which faces artists and crafters in Northern Ontario.
The first hour of the workshop will be a “meet-and-greet” for local artists, crafters, and people interested in becoming involved.
A collective supports its members, such as by helping to spread the word if a fellow member is having a show, putting on shows together, ordering supplies together, networking, or even just keeping an eye out for opportunities that would help a fellow member.
“You just get a mutual support and people to bounce ideas off of, and a group of people that you can discuss the future of certain creative things with,” she reasoned.
Hamilton likened this to the response that’s been seen on “Market Thursdays” in downtown Fort Frances.
“[Market Thursdays] really shows how banding together can really contribute something back into the community,” she remarked.
She conceded that sometimes the day can be “hit or miss.” But “when it’s on, there’s lots of people set up and their wares are beautiful and people are smiling.”
“I really felt as if there is sort of a creative heartbeat happening here,” Hamilton said.
“[A collective] doesn’t just welcome visual artists and crafters into their collective,” she added. “It also outreaches to writers, musicians, photographers, hobbyists— anybody who wants to be involved more intimately with the creative culture in the community.”
Lunch will be provided at the workshop, along with snacks.

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