ArtPontiac ready to roll with 2022 season

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ArtPontiac’s first exhibition starts June 3, 2022

Cheryl Dolan

ArtPontiac started in the winter of 1989, with a fewpeople dreaming around a kitchen table.

Out of this meeting, emerged the 30-year run of the Pontiac Artists’ Studio Tour which had tremendous success attracting thousands to the Pontiac. The “Pontiac School of the Arts” was created in 2003 offering opportunities to teach and learn art techniques in the community, followed by the establishment of a not-for-profit organization, the Pontiac Artists’ Association (PAA), in 2004. The PAA, now referred to as artPontiac, is the driving force for the development of arts and culture in the Pontiac. Headquartered in the “Stone School Gallery” in Portage-du-Fort, they host a variety of exhibitions through the June to October season as well as workshops, artists’ talks, a kids art camp and much more.

ArtPontiac 2022 board members are Cheryl Beillard (President), Claire Taillfer (V-President), Muriel Perrier (Treasurer) and Crystal Coystal (Secretary) with Marie Connell as Communications Director.

What’s new for 2022?

An exciting addition to the Stone School Gallery is the creation of a permanent shop in the former downstairs gallery where a variety of members’ work will be available for sale. Generous support from MNA Andre Fortin helped with the preparation of the shop. Thirty-five artists are contributing works such as sculpture, wood carving, pottery, glass work, stained glass, fused glass, scarves, tote bags, greeting cards, matted photography and prints. The shop will give exposure to many artists and will be open all season from Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The grand opening will be on June 3, 2022,
at 5:30 to 8:00 at the first exhibition’s vernissage, “Conversations”, where 15 artists will explore that theme.

The “Call of the Turtle”, a multi-dimensional exhibition scheduled to run from July 29 – August 21, will be a big source of interest this year. ArtPontiac is partnering with a number of environmental groups to raise awareness of the declining population of turtles. There are eight species of turtles found in Ontario and Quebec and all except the Painted Turtle are endangered or at risk. Their demise is related to the development of wetlands, pollution, climate change and road kill. Cheryl Beillard, president of artPontiac explained to the Journal: “There will be workshops for children and families. We hope to have a speaker from the Canadian Wildlife Society to talk about freshwater turtles, while the children paint pictures of turtles.

There will even be an evening of poetry included in the turtle show, and much more.”

Art and culture self-guided tour

Another exciting venture of artPontiac is a new project, in conjunction with the MRC, to establish an Art and Culture map of Pontiac and neighbouring areas. Creating and designing their own tour of the Pontiac will allow people to visit the shop and gallery in Portage-du-Fort and encourage them to visit (by appointment) members who have studios. The Board is also working on “Art on the Road”: a collective booth and table for artist-members to use at agricultural fairs and craft sales.

Pontiac School of the Arts also has a full schedule of art courses which begin in June; more information and to register go to www.artpontiac.com.

President Beillard sums it up: “What makes artPontiac unique is its history and location; with over 30 years of existence, it has proven its worth to local artists and the wider community. There may be galleries in town, but this one is unique, located in a small village, in the midst of a beautiful forested area, right beside the Ottawa River. So, our art is formed by our history. The Pontiac is unique, so artPontiac is unique.”