By Ken Wallingford
Public libraries in Nova Scotia are making an effort to boost interest in hand-made crafts with a new series of free workshops called “Art Attack: No Holds Barred Arts and Crafts.” The program runs from March 22 to April 15 and includes workshops on painting, spinning, printing, rug-hooking, knitting, basket-weaving, metalwork and jewelry making.
“It’s great for these local artists who might not be well known around their communities but may be well known -even internationally- online,” said Rosie Browning, a crafter attending a workshop at the Spring Garden Road Memorial Public Library.
Rosie Browning talks about her experiences of knitting and her thoughts on the arts program.[audio:http://peninsula-news.kingsjournalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/J-public-library-arts.mp3|titles=J- public library arts]
Heather MacKenzie, branch manager of the Alderney Landing Public Library in Dartmouth, has been a part of these Art Attack programs for many years. She’s found that this year’s program is “much more community-based” than previous years, something she says is encouraging for Nova Scotia’s relatively small craft community.
Briony Carros, executive director of Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS), was approached by MacKenzie who was looking to put together a series of craft workshops. The primary goals were to raise awareness within the community, give the public access to high-quality cultural programs, and provide support for local artists.
“We worked together with the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design (NSCCD) and VANS to come up with different programs,” said MacKenzie. “It was nice to get some new and different ideas, and all programs are offered free.”
Carros also applauded the workshops: “What’s great about them is that we are reaching out to the library system and it gives an opportunity for interaction between the artist and the general public,” she said. “(It’s) more of an introduction for these people to see local work.”
So far, the demographic showing up for these workshops has been extremely varied in age; there are teenagers, young kids, adults and seniors showing up to learn a new or different craft, and that’s been good news for public libraries around Nova Scotia.
“It’s about showing the work of an artist and being creative,” Carros said. “No more rules. You don’t have to paint certain things or draw certain objects. It’s all about being free and creative.”