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Creative arts mean business

Jake Chisholm, Doug Mann, Willa Kray and Laura Richey are putting together plans for Sale Along the River Oct. 1 at Glasgow Square. Creative Pictou County.
Jake Chisholm, Doug Mann, Willa Kray and Laura Richey are putting together plans for Sale Along the River Oct. 1 at Glasgow Square. Creative Pictou County.

Creative Pictou County is aiming to boost the business interests of Pictou County artists and artisans while enriching the entire community.

The group had its beginnings about five years ago with artist Denise Lynch at the helm and then soldiered on with Carlton Munroe and Troy Greencorn providing organizational support. Mann just recently became its chair.

The group will be presenting Sale Along the River: An Artisan Fair at Glasgow Square on Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will include the work of local artists and artisans and the unveiling of a public art piece by Todd Vassallo and Carolyn Bedfords. Live music and food trucks will also be on site.   

“Denise’s work and the energy she brought to it resulted in award-winning provincial recognition for Pictou County. That inspired me to do what I can to support our artistic community. Both Carlton and Troy gave us the benefit of their considerable experience and we’re excited about our possibilities,” said Mann, who comes from an artistic family but he insists he has no artistic skills.

Mann, along with sponsorship chair Laura Richey, Willa Kray as secretary and Jake Chisholm as communications and events chair, make up the executive.

 “Our slogan is creative arts mean business,” said Mann, noting more than 25 artisan vendors are expected to be holding demonstrations and offering their work for sale.

Richey, an esthetician, said she was attracted to the group because of her friendships with artists.

“I’ve got great friends who are artists so I know some of their difficulties and I see this as a way to help them support themselves through their work,” she said.

The group has a lively new webpage which encourages artists, artisans and anyone working creatively to present profiles of themselves and their work. About 70 people attended a recent launch event.

“We’re becoming a very useful directory where people can turn when they are looking for a painter or a graphic designer or a writer, for example. We’ve had people coming to us asking where to find these people,” she said.

Kray‘s interest was piqued when an artist friend approached her about joining the group.

“I’ve been running a business in Pictou County for a few years and I was convinced my experience as an entrepreneur might be helpful. I’m certainly willing to share what I have learned along the way,” she said.

Any artist or artisan who wants to be financially successful has to take an entrepreneurial perspective, she added.

“You have to consider the cost of your time and materials and how you are going to sell your work. A group like this brings people together and there are a lot of benefits to that,” she said.

Chisholm, whose had a background in arts and entertainment, said he attended the group’s annual meeting and was encouraged by the work that is already done.

“I am employed at Glasgow Square and I represent the Town of New Glasgow on the board. This event is a good fit for the square and the riverfront. Working together we can help the artistic community and that helps the whole community.”

Kray is familiar with a very successful artists’ and artisans’ show along the shores of Ontario’s Lake Simcoe and she saw potential on New Glasgow’s riverbank.

“We want to provide an opportunity for creative people but we also need to increase our visibility so this event works both ways.”

Chisholm said it is similar to Windfall and Antigonight arts festivals, which take place in Antigonish.

“You’ll see some of the same people who participate in Art at Night which takes place in the spring,” added Richey.

The only real requirement for vendors is that they sell their own products.

“No one should think it is all art or all paintings. We already know we are going to have a vendor who produces honey and beeswax and we have another who has a line of all natural products,” said Kray.

Chisholm and Mann noted vendors from outside the county are also welcome.

The executive’s plans include selling tickets for a 50-50draw with a twist –the prize will be a certificate to purchase something from the sale. Sale plans aside, the group is busy building links with area businesses.

“If there is an area business that would like to exhibit art works or have a gallery arrangement where they display works that are for sale, we’d like to hear from them,” said Kray.

Richey sees part of the group’s mission as increasing the vibrancy of the artistic community.

“We know we have lots of artists who paint in their basements and musicians who only play in the privacy of their living rooms but we want to get them out in public, sharing with the community. We want shows, we want events, we want people being impressed.”

Vendors who want to sell their works at the show and anyone interested in volunteering should contact creativepictoucounty@gmail.com, post a message on the group’s Facebook page or drop by Glasgow Square to talk to Chisholm.

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