The arts have a special way of building community and camaraderie in our busy lives, inviting us to slow down, take stock and tune into our inner creative voices. And a community that creates together can relate to each other on a whole other level.
Thirteen years ago, the Association for the Arts in Mount Pearl (AAMP) was formed – an organization that strives to create “opportunities for artists and performers to connect with audiences and for ordinary citizens to have a chance to explore their creativity in a relaxing and inviting way,” says Christine Hennebury, founder and co-chair of AAMP. One of the things that has helped with that end is the ARTFUSiON Festival, a yearly celebration of creativity held in conjunction with Arts Week in the City of Mount Pearl. Taking place this year from September 17-23, the event will include a variety of performers, arts and crafts activities for kids and adults, mystery games, writing and dance classes, storytelling sessions and more.
“Our goal has always been to have fun events that anyone can participate in, no matter how ‘artsy’ they perceive themselves to be,” Hennebury says.
An event such as this wouldn’t be possible without community and local business support, something which Hennebury says they have in spades. This year’s key supporters include Mount Pearl businesses FASTSIGNS and Young Drivers of Canada (previous support has also come from Sobeys and Coffee Matters), with organizations such as Admiralty House Communications Museum, the Mount Pearl Frosty Festival and ArtsNL also lending a hand.
Of course, Hennebury says, help from the City of Mount Pearl is “absolutely vital” to their operations.
“Not only do they provide us with core funding and the use of our building, but they make many in-kind contributions – staff cooperation, promotion via their website and digital signage, tables and chairs and a tent for our event, councillors promote our events on Facebook,” she says.
This isn’t the only artistic endeavour the City supports. Ten years ago, the City approached AAMP about hosting arts activities in Centennial Park, which gave rise to Arts in the Park (held on Monday evenings in August). The event has featured everyone from hula hoopers and dancers, to storytellers, musicians and groups like Shakespeare By The Sea.
“We have a craft for kids and refreshments for everyone…this year we were fortunate enough to be a site for Panago’s ‘Random Acts of Pizza’ and they provided free pizza for our events,” Hennebury adds.
Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms says events like Arts in the Park and ARTFUSiON “help provide a balanced complement of recreation offerings” for residents and visitors, while also benefitting the business community.
“The City sees great value in the arts. These events encourage artists and audience members to visit our city, which is great for local businesses, as well as for AAMP,” he says.
“We are proud of AAMP’s hard work to foster and promote the arts in the City of Mount Pearl and we’re happy that by building the Annex and by providing some financial support, we can play a role in their success.”