Artist in the community hopes to continue program’s legacy

Shannon Kelly. Submitted photo.

The successor of a popular library program has been bringing a new take to assisting creative people in Prince Albert.

Earlier this year, Shannon Kelly was named the John M. Cuelenaere Artist in the Community. Kelly took on the role following the conclusion of the writer in the community program, which was led by acclaimed local writer Lynda Monahan.

Last year, during one of her last days as the library’s writer in residence, Monahan hinted at big plans for the program.

“When Lynda asked me, I was floored,” Kelly said during an interview at her library office last Thursday.

“It’s an honour for sure, especially to be picked by somebody as dedicated to this community as Lynda has been over the last 25 years. For her to come and ask me was really a special honour.”

Kelly is the creator and editor of Vintage Gypsy magazine, a women’s magazine based out of Prince Albert. She is also the curator of the Rock My Gypsy Soul music festival, which was held for the first time in 2018, and provided a voice for young and up-and-coming women musicians. She also is the facilitator for Write Your Own Way Home, a six-week intensive writing workshop offered through Vintage Gypsy.

She explained the expansion of the program to include other forms of art — not just writing.

“I’m more of a mentor for writers than I am a published writer myself,” she said.

“it’s whatever projects creative people want to see happen in the library. Because the library is a community-based entity, most of the programming we have here is free. If people would like to see stuff that’s not already going on, they can come and talk to me and I can try to make that happen.”

Part of her role, she said, is to help people with an artistic passion find a project that suits them.

“they have a vision. Sometimes, they don’t know where to start or how to make it happen,” Kelly said.

“They just come and talk to me and I try to figure out how I can help them get their projects off of the ground.”

So far, Kelly has seen a couple of writers, helped fill the Grace Campbell Gallery with art and co-hosted a dream catcher workshop.

“So far it’s been great,” Kelly said.

“I did see some of Lynda’s people who were coming to see her before, and it’s great to see all of the different projects that are going on.”

Kelly is happy to see the program continuing on. Art, she said, is something all people can enjoy.

“I think art is something we all need. We all have two sides of our brain, and art and creativity is something that sparks inspiration in other people. That’s why I think it really needs to continue.”

While Kelly hasn’t revealed any big plans as to where she wants the program to go, she did say she wants to engage more children and encourage them to access their artistic talents.

To meet with Kelly for a consultation, book an appointment by emailing or by calling 306-930-6693. Her office is located in the basement of the library, just to the right of the bottom of the stairs.