PARRSBORO, N.S. – Parrsboro is quickly developing a reputation as Cumberland County’s arts capital.
Earlier this summer, 35 of the best plein art painters in North America came to the community to compete in the Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival. Now six artists will be working there, through Sept. 30, as part of Parrsboro Creative’s Artist-in-Residence program.
Parrsboro Creative residencies range from one to three weeks, and each artist receives free accommodation, studio space on Main Street, and a weekly honorarium.
“We do everything we can to make these people feel at home, and to provide an environment that allows them to explore and take their artistry to the next level,” Parrsboro Creative board chair Michael Fuller said. “Parrsboro is a community that welcomes artists and sees creative activities as part of everyday life. This is now part of our reputation in the Maritimes and soon it’s going to become known across Canada, in the United States, and eventually in Europe.”
The organization’s executive director, Robert More, said the more people know about Parrsboro the better.
“Parrsboro is fast becoming one of the most exciting arts and culture hubs in Nova Scotia, and our Artist-In-Residence program is an important element in getting the word out to people at large and to attracting artists here in particular.”
All of the artists-in-residence are very interested in engaging with the public and wish to encourage people to visit them in their studios.
Hours open to the public will be posted on the studio doors, and also posted on Facebook and on the Parrsboro Creative website - www.parrsborocreative.com.
Exhibition dates and times will be posted as well.
This is the second year for the program and More said it has taken a “quantum” leap forward this year.
“There were four times as many applications this year,” said More, “and the quality of the submissions was impressive. Every artist who applied is highly talented, and each one is enthusiastically open to interacting with the public, a factor that was very important to us.”
The first guest artist is Ann Willsie, who is in Parrsboro until Sept. 5.
Willsi is from Lake Country, B.C.
She’s a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and her bold impressionistic style has won numerous awards in many FCA shows and Plein Air Festivals.
An unabashed enthusiast, within minutes of her arrival she was swept away by the spectacular beauty of this area and finished her first painting by noon on her second day!
There will be an exhibition of her new work opening at 2 p.m. on Sunday Sept. 2 at Parrsboro Artist-In-Residence Studio A 206 Main St.
The next artist will be William (Bill) Rogers from Antigonish, who will be in the community between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5.
Rogers has an international reputation as one of the best Plein Air artists in North America. A master of composition, colour, and the subtleties of light, he has won numerous awards at plein air festivals from the east coast to California.
Bill also conducts master classes in plein air techniques at Art Lab Studios and Gallery in Parrsboro.
He is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, and is currently the past president.
The third artist-in-residence is Eileen Henneman from Almonte, Ont.
She will be in Parrsboro Sept. 8 to 23.
After receiving formal training at the Academy of Art Montreal, she went on to a
three-decade career in graphic design. This experience allowed her to make the leap to full-time painting, and Eileen has totally embraced the life of an artist.
Ken Dewaard, the fourth artist, is from from Hope, Maine and will be on site from Sept. 8 to 16, and brings with him a wealth of experience.
He has been painting for more than 30 years, and has won numerous awards at prestigious plein air events such as Easton, Maryland; Cape Ann, Mass., and Sonoma, Ariz.
He began teaching in the late 1990s and has continued to teach workshops across the United Stats as well as instructing at the Academy of Fine Art in Denmark.
The fifth artist-in-residence is Susan Paterson from Dartmouth (Sept. 16 to 28).
Well known for her exquisitely detailed studies of landscape, florals and everyday objects, she creates work that resonates with luminous energy and astonishing clarity.
Paterson earned her bachelor of fine arts degree from Mount Allison University, and has had more than 30 solo shows across Canada with collections of her work shown all over the world. Susan is also the winner of the 2018 Cumberland County Art Bank Competition.
Heather van der Breggen is the final artist in residence (Sept. 14 to 29).
From Weyburn, Sask., she has private collections in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Columbia, Arizona and Louisiana.
As well as earning accolades for her work in numerous exhibitions and competitions, she also commits a great deal of time, energy, and passion to making art accessible to the public with programs such as ARTFARM and SMART ART.
In 2008, Heather started a company with her daughter called Simple with a Twist whose mission is to encourage and inspire others to explore their own creative selves.