We’re blessed to have a vibrant and thriving arts scene here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and a community of people who support and value artists’ work. In Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, a new arts association is making an impact and hoping to offer another layer of support for the creative community.
Partners for the Arts, says member Marlene Creates (an environmental artist and poet), began with what she calls “a couple of serendipitous encounters, as a great many things do, especially here in Newfoundland and Labrador.” It all started in December of 2019 when she was shopping at local business Tilt House Bakery. A member of the staff invited her to attend a Christmas gathering they were helping organize for the Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s (PCSP) Chamber of Commerce. She did, and ended up sitting next to Michael Murray, Chair of the PCSP Chamber of Commerce, who asked her about what the Chamber could do for artists in the area.
“I’d had a couple of ideas for the Town that I’d never had the time to act on myself, so I mentioned them to Michael,” Creates says. Since then, she adds, thanks to help from the Chamber and the efforts of fellow artist Michelle Jones, Partners for the Arts has been blossoming.
“It has a volunteer steering committee, a logo, some programming plans, and funds from the Chamber and the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s for programming. I credit Michael Murray for appreciating the importance of the arts for the well-being of a community — not just its economical success, but also its social and environmental well-being, because they’re all intertwined.”
The vision of Partners for the Arts, says Michelle Jones, “is to create a presence that will provide a forum to share ideas and information, provide educational opportunities and facilitate collaborative efforts with local businesses, schools and community groups such as our tourism and heritage committees.”
“We want to support all disciplines of the arts such as visual artists, craft persons, literary, film and performing artists including dance, music and theatre,” she adds.
This past November (guided by COVID-19 public health guidelines) Partners for the Arts held their official launch at The Grounds Cafe at Murray’s Gardens, hosted by the PCSP Chamber of Commerce. The event, which Jones says was a smashing success, included live music and an array of creatives including authors, painters, photographers and jewellery designers, as well as rug hooking and wool spinning demos.
“It was the perfect venue to socially distance our guests and participants and keep everyone safe while enjoying a fabulous evening celebrating our local arts community,” Jones says.
“The Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, the PCSP Chamber of Commerce, Business & Arts NL and Music NL were all represented to show their support of the launch.”
On April 16, Partners for the Arts will host their first online event, “Increase Your Online Visibility, Confidence and Sales” with award-winning business coach Jennifer Trask. The workshop, Jones says, is offered to both members and non-members to promote the association and give people a glimpse into the type of events they will be offering.
Since their formation, Jones says, Partners for the Arts has been picking up steam and they hope to keep the momentum going.
“We just started our membership drive. We have interest in and outside of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s. You don’t have to be a resident to join. We welcome those involved in the arts province wide,” she says.
“We have already started to grow relationships with other community groups and have started to discuss collaborative efforts. It’s a pretty exciting time for us!”
To stay in the loop with Partners for the Arts, follow their Facebook page. You can also reach the association at: firstname.lastname@example.org