Newfoundland and Labrador has more talented and creative folks than you can shake a proverbial stick at. Look around any corner, community and cove and you’ll find any number of songwriters, sculptors, dancers, directors, playwrights and painters plying their trade and making their own unique and indelible mark on our province and culture. A new TV series is helping to shed light on some of their stories.
“Arts Delight” is a 10-part program from Springwater Productions Inc. that aims to highlight the local artistic community while giving viewers a sense of pride as they “learn a little more about the artistic vein that permeates our province.” The show airs on NTV at 4pm every Sunday until August 19. Springwater’s Bill Coultas is the producer/director, with associate producer Frances Ennis and technical producer Mike Walsh rounding out the team.
“The series is basically an extension of what I’ve been doing now for years. The idea of interviewing local artists began when I was a producer at Cable Atlantic (forerunner of Rogers Cable )…I wanted to do an art series that would require a lot of bells and whistles, but the management said it would require too much of my time. So I suggested a simple interview format and they gave it the okay,” says Coultas, who has been an independent producer for two decades.
“I interviewed over 120 artists in a five-year span and many have been stored in the MUN Folklore Archives. The series was called ‘Personal Portraits.’ Just for a bit of fun I continued to do some of those interviews for Rogers and Eastlink, which I see now and again on air. That series is called ‘The Art of Art.’”
The new series uses an intimate and in-depth interview format to help viewers get up close and personal with some of the province’s most recognizable names in the creative industry, as well as some hidden gems. Since the series premiere on June 17, “Arts Delight” has featured filmmaker Noel Harris, theatre director Donna Butt and sculptor Morgan MacDonald. Upcoming guests include writer Lisa Moore (July 8), musician (and Business & Arts NL board member) Ian Sutherland (July 15), performer Mary Walsh (July 22), painter Jean Claude Roy (July 29), filmmaker Ruth Lawrence (August 5), visual artist Allan Gillard (August 12), and singer/songwriters The Ennis Sisters (August 19).
“One of the sub goals of the series, if you will, was to have some guests who didn’t have that big a profile. One guest is a guy named Allan Gillard. He’s a multitalented guy who lives in Tors Cove. I saw some of his work when we owned a family-run art gallery in Tors Cove called The Five Island Art Gallery. Allan is the classic artist, meaning that everything he does is art. He’s a woodburner, storyteller, painter, finish carpenter, and instrument maker. So it was great to have a chance to interview Allan,” Coultas says.
“The same applies to Ian Sutherland, the Dean of Music at MUN,” Coultas says of the Lewisporte native, whom he met at a neighbour’s party. “As we spoke, I was completely taken by the wideness of his talent. And I am certainly taken by a person who has a doctorate, but is at the same time a concert pianist and internationally known choral director.”
Regarding the timing of the series, Coultas says “Anytime is ripe for an art-related show like ‘Arts Delight.’ We all know the depth of talented artists in this province. I find it quite mind-boggling really. Such a small population that has such a big national impact.”
As he looks towards retirement, Coultas says this will likely be the one and only season of “Arts Delight.” But, he adds about his career in general, one never knows what the future holds.
“I’m hanging up my camera soon, but you know I’m having trouble finding a nail to hang it up on.”