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Pictures can tell a thousand words, stories can tell a lifetime

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Pictures can tell a thousand words, stories can tell a lifetime
A patron views four paintings included in the “Symbiosis: Art in the Community” exhibit that runs until April 23 in the John V. Hicks Gallery. -- Marjorie Roden/Daily Herald

After a year of artistic effort, residents who joined the Artists in Communities project had a chance to show off the results.

Art lovers got their first glimpse of the project’s final results when “Symbiosis: Art in the Community” opened on Monday at the John V. Hicks Gallery in the Prince Albert Arts Centre.

The show features a number of pieces created in workshops that began in June 2021. Jesse Campbell, one of the artists who helped curate the show, said it was a great opportunity for artists to learn from others’ experiences.

“I have been very grateful to have been learning, especially from the artists and writers and curators, about the very difficult and unfair realities that Indigenous peoples have faced,” she said. “I’m thankful for the arts as a tool of expression and of communication. We’ve learned a lot from our artists in communities’ projects.”

Beadwork artist Marcy Friesen jumped at the chance to be one of the mentors in the program. Friesen was honoured to be invited, and said she was glad for a chance to get out of her comfort zone.”

The exhibit featured a number of pieces created with her students. Among them was a series of beadwork masks, with black defining faith symbols, such as the Christian church, yellow representing the sunshine, white representing purity, and red representing blood.

Local high school art teacher Alan Ruder is also part of the mentoring team. He said artistic touches, like the facial expressions, shows how excited everyone was to take part.

“It speaks to the enthusiasm of a lot of the participants being in the class,” he said.

Visuals arts weren’t the only artistic disciplines on display. Like her visual arts counterparts, writing mentor Beth Goeil said the project was a great experience for those involved.

“I’ve had an absolute wonderful time,” Gobeil said.

Gobeil said common questions always pop up in her students’ writing. They want to know who they are, why they matter, and where they’ve come from. Artists in Communities helped them explore that.

Theatrical actor and writer Adreanna Boucher rounded out the membership team. She said everyone has their own hurts and their own stories, and the Artists in Communities project helped draw that out.

“Art really does bring us together, whether it’s a reading, or whether it’s drawing, or painting, or writing, or acting,” she said.

The show, “Symbiosis: Art and the Community” runs until April 23 in the John V. Hicks Gallery in the Prince Albert Arts Centre at 1010 Central Avenue. Admission is free.

“Artists in Communities” was a year long project designed to develop long-term arts programming outside traditional arts spaces, while also providing ways for the community to hear voices they may not otherwise hear.