Name change reflects new gallery for arts guild
The Canmore Artists and Artisans Guild, as it prepares to move into its new home in Elevation Place, has changed its name, dropping “Artisans” to reflect the group’s changing identity.
According to guild treasurer Catharine Findlay, it’s not a move to bump artisans from the 32-year-old group. Instead, the new and simplified name of Canmore Art Guild (CAG) recognizes that all of the work created by guild members is art.
“We wanted to simplify the name for the elegant new gallery,” Findlay said on Aug. 15. “As far as I’m concerned, artisans are artists. We didn’t think it was necessary to make the distinction. Some people might call potters artisans, but the people producing ceramics in the 3D show are artists; their work is exceptional. I think everything our artists produce is art in one way or another.”
Founded in 1980 after Patrick Yesh and Richard Lamartine were awarded a grant for a community art show as part of Alberta’s 75th anniversary, CAG now has 105 members from the Bow Valley and beyond in places like Nova Scotia and B.C.
CAG has been actively fundraising to buy new equipment and furniture for the new gallery space, which is about the same size as the current gallery, with over $19,000 alone raised at the guild’s recent art raffle and silent auction.
While the guild’s name and home have changed, its mandate and role in the community will not.
CAG will still host its group and solo shows and its special shows, such as the Kids’ Art and high school art shows and the photography shows for Exposure: the Calgary Banff Canmore Photography Festival. It will also continue to make arts visible in Canmore and to promote exhibitions and workshops to raise awareness of the arts.
What will change is the relationship CAG has shared with the Canmore Public Library since the guild’s inception. The first exhibitions were held above the library when it was in the southern wing of the Canmore Seniors’ Centre and then when the library moved in 1996, so did CAG.
“This will be the first time in the history of the guild that we’ll actually be a separate entity from the library,” Findlay said.
As a result, the separation will allow the guild to remain open longer and on long weekends without having to worry about moving artwork for library-related events such as book sales.
“It’s been a good space and our members are so lucky and I don’t know if many people realize that many guilds have their own space,” Findlay said. “It’s a nice position to be in.”
As it is, Findlay said, the new, young members who are joining CAG bring with them a fresh look and a new perspective.
“They’re bringing a new perspective in terms of the style of art,” she said.
The guild is also planning a special opening show once the doors to the new gallery are ready to open, tentatively scheduled for December.
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