Thank you to Saint John artist Christine Johnson for gifting me just the word I needed. “CONNECT” it is.
As Christine put it so nicely, “connecting artists in the region to advocate local artists”
pretty much describes what I had in mind over six years ago.
It was 2014 when I first Began my project, trying to encouage the artists along Chaleur Bay to do some sort of art during May and calling this the Chaleur Bay Spring Garden of Artists. It was not to be a big splash event involving government money and corporate sponsorship. No applications for any grant ever went out.
Past experience had taught me that government grants seldom go to new, untried ideas. This was was definitely new and untried, so new and untried that almost everywhere I went for help and encouragement the answer was, “Go and see … So and So … at the local art society” which was exactly what my idea was not about. It was about freeing artists from the structures that box them in. It was not about having someone else decide how much wall space they would be allowed. It wasn’t about paying fees or memberships or voting for executive officers. It definitely wasn’t about competition. There were to be no prizes or awards or medals. This was to be purely for the love of art.
What I had in mind was that artists would be connected simply by doing art, each one in their own way in their own homes and studios and and communities.
I thought that if I could somehow plant that one seed of an idea of art along the bay perhaps others would also plant seeds and surely with enough seeds eventually something would grow out of it. I imagined also that what we developed here on the New Brunswick side of Chaleur Bay would eventually grow to meet with the already flourishing arts along the Quebec side.
I received letters of support from artists in Sackville and art groups as far away as Vancouver. My only local help at the beginning came from members of my family. I want to thank them for believing in me. I also appreciate that (our family business) Musk Enterprises Ltd. kindly agreed to let me use their mail box and street address for correspondence and provided me with studio space above Music City store on St. Andrew St.in Bathurst. I had hoped that artists would grow good strong roots in their communities without the need for paying dues to committees and that artists would be free to do their own art in their own way. My goal was to make contact with the artists and eventually produce a map of Chaleur Bay artists. This never happened. I started working on the map but no artist ever contacted me.
As time went on the PO box became too expensive to maintain, the business closed and we were no longer able to access the Canada Post system. So, my original contact information became obsolete. Perhaps this was the reason for lack of contact. Perhaps there was no interest. I still don’t know.
Anyone interested in helping me continue this art project may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 506-783-7944
I can no longer afford to keep open the seasonal public artspace I created at 212 St. Andrew St. in Bathurst. The building is up for sale.
Thank you again to those who still believe in me.
Margaret Sharon Olscamp