Highlighting our visual arts

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Tireless planning and brainstorming will culminate next week in an exhibition containing a series of interactive workshops that highlights visual arts in the Exploits region.Art Ex, a new event introduced by the Exploits Valley Economic Development Corporation (EVEDC), will take place from Aug.6-8 and feature plenty of unique aspects aimed at all ages. The exhibition is supported by a cast of 11 members representing its committee.

The Art Ex committee has been hard at work in preparation for its first annual event, which will be held from Aug. 6-8.

Joanne Sullivan, member of both the Art Ex board and EVEDC, explained that the idea formed from a series of meetings with various groups in the community.

"The EVEDC, in consultation with various community stakeholders, had a series of sessions where we tried to focus on the natural strengths in the region that we could build upon and to create a cultural tourism experience that would have value for both the people who live here and also, the people who may visit the region," she explained.

Michael Pittman, another of the board's members, said that the group is anticipating that Art Ex will become an annual event.

"I think there's a very strong visual arts culture here in the region, with CNVAS (Central Newfoundland Visual Arts Society) having existed for a long time, and there seems to be a large interest in the visual arts, in general," he said,

"It's a fairly natural progression to an event of this sort, to promote community involvement in visual arts and create an annual event for people to get excited about in the region."

The group is hoping that the exhibition will stand out as one of the premier events in the central region and ultimately, the province.

"It also brings an area of uniqueness to the region in the sense that this area will be branded for the experience of visual arts, which will be unique to the province, as well," said member Linda Nuotio-Flynn.

Despite not even holding its first event yet, the committee is already charging full steam ahead towards next years', with many contacts already made.

"It's our inaugural year in launching the event, but we've already spoken to very high-calibre people from people in the province, to as far away as Victoria, B.C.," added member Craig Goudie.

"We actually have proposals for next year from Victoria, so already, there's a lot of interest. Anybody we've contacted with ideas have been really receptive. It's going to be a big event."

However, the committee isn't getting ahead of itself, as a great deal of time and effort has been spent to ensure the inaugural event will be one to remember.

With activities for all ages, the group is hoping that younger members of the community will begin to take an interest in visual arts at an early age. In the same vein, there is plenty for older residents and the Art Ex committee stressed that there is something for everybody and that nobody should feel intimidated due to their familiarity, or lack thereof, with various aspects of the visual arts.

"The events are for people of all different experiences in visual arts, or no previous experience at all," added Ms. Sullivan. "It's really open and accessible to anybody who is interested."

For more information, or to register for any of the Art Ex events, contact the EVEDC office at 489-8700.

Organizations: Newfoundland Visual Arts Society

Geographic location: Victoria

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