‘End of Summer’, an acrylic painting by Mary Lynn Lawrence, displayed next to a collection of vases and jars. (Photo / Colin Macgillivray)

Nechako Community Arts Council gives local artists a platform

Showcasing local art is key to reinforcing culture, says NCAC

Art is a universal form of expression. Whether you were born and raised in Vanderhoof or residing across the world in Milan, Italy, chances are you have come across the work of some incredibly talented individuals. Their efforts may even be hanging in your dining room right now, left to be admired every night when you sit down at the dinner table.

Although the majority of us have all seen the imaginative expression of famed artists like Vincent van Gogh or Pablo Picasso, it can be difficult to find the perfect painted canvas that fully captures your artistic desires. Luckily, the exciting artwork of some truly creative minds is not completely out of reach.

That is due in no small part to the Nechako Community Arts Council, a society who proclaims that they are a diverse group of committed artists and art admirers who drive to maintain and expand the arts in the community.

This includes recent events, like the Spring Art Sale and Exhibit, that aim to showcase local artists and craftspeople that may be hidden from public eye.

“We put on these events to promote art and artists in our community and in the area,” says Mary Lynn Lawrence, a devoted artist and the vice president of the NCAC. “We’re really just trying to let people know what talented artists in the are doing on a fairly regular basis.”

The spring art exhibit, which ran over Mother’s Day weekend, was held at the Integris Community Centre and was one of the two to three art shows that the NCAC typically holds each year. According to Lawrence, it’s an opportunity for both fresh and seasoned artists to display their work to the public.

“Artists do tend to be a little reclusive,” says Lawrence. “There are certain artists that are always usually active in the community who are out doing things, but these exhibits also help certain artists think a little bit more of what they are producing and how much they are producing, too.”

The previous exhibit that was held by the NCAC featured 18 artists from communities like Vanderhoof, Fort St. James and Fraser Lake, in which all forms of arts and crafts were welcome. This spring, 10 artist were featured in the show, making it a smaller event than usual, yet Lawrence was still pleased with those who did attend.

“We do normally get lots of people out who come and take a look,” says Lawrence. “There is a lot going on in town this weekend, so people have been dropping by while they’re out making a day of things.”

Per their Facebook page, the NCAC strives to do more than just recognize the important work of artists through their exhibits. Their group page is filled with frequent posts regarding creative opportunities that have sprung up in the area, such as painting classes or wallet making. This in addition to the recurrent postings regarding other artistic endeavours in the community, whether it be dance lessons or concerts.

Ultimately, for Lawrence, the work that the NCAC does to promote community art is about more than just selling a couple of freshly painted canvases or a collection of pottery. It’s about reinforcing creative expression and culture.

“Having art showcased in a community is extremely important,” says Lawrence. “It’s part of the culture anywhere you are. I think that sometimes, a lot of people forget about that aspect of culture, so it is important that there is an outlet for artists to be recognized.”

For more information regarding the Nechako Community Arts Council and further art exhibits and events, visit www.facebook.com/Nechako-Community-Arts-Council/.

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