It was an evening of firsts for the Kyla Artist Group on Sunday.
The 41st annual Kyla Art Show was the first with new partners, the Optimist Club, who took over earlier this year. It was also the inaugural show in their new venue, Plaza 88.
“I was a bit concerned at first, because the ambience is very different from our other previous shows,” Kyla Art Group chair Cheryl Ring said. “I didn’t know how that was going to go over, but everything has been very positive. It has just been a fantastic place to host.”
More than 360 pieces were on display, made by 21 local artists in a variety of disciplines. Ring said the work showed the diversity of styles and experiences among local artists, as well as the talent the area nurtures so well.
“I think it is partly due to our weather,” she chuckled. “What do you do when you have so much cold weather? I think it’s conducive to artists. We have a lot of inspiration too. You don’t have to go very far to be inspired. You can look out your window.”
The first partnership between Kyla and the Optimists proved to be a successful one. Ring said it was an absolute pleasure to work with the organization, who stepped in after longtime show partners The Kiwanis Club folded earlier this year.
While the art group was sad to see that old partnership end, they were grateful to have a new one.
“We worked really hard this summer to come up with, not necessarily branding, but a new focus,” Ring explained. “They (the Optimists) have been very cooperative, very supportive, very helpful and enthusiastic.”
Sunday’s partnership was a bit different from the Optimist Club’s normal fundraising activities, but club members jumped at the chance to do something different.
Optimist secretary-treasurer Vince Parker said it took some time to adjust to the event, but they’re glad they took part in it.
“We’re used to selling tickets for raffles and things like that, where we’re making money that way (instead of) actual events,” he said. “It’s a different thing for us to do. It doesn’t come naturally to us. It’s been a challenge, but it’s something we’ll get better and better at over time.”
The Optimists plan to used funds raised Sunday to support sports teams, dance groups, and a series of school playgrounds, the next one being at École Vickers School.
Parker said they’ll hold a few meetings with the Kyla Art Group to make sure this year’s show went off smoothly. However, he anticipates the new partnership will be back again in 2020.
“Right off the top of my head, yeah, we’ll probably do it next year,” he said.