November 29, 2022

Article at

A blossoming of creative energy

I’ve driven past the St. Paul Visual Arts facility more than a few times over the years. I’ve always thought I’d like to find out more about it and maybe do a story for the paper. But I never managed to find anyone “at home,” and never followed up with a phone call.

One morning last week I was passing through St. Paul on my way to Edmonton, and saw a sign advertising their art sale that evening. The timing worked out perfectly for me to drop in on my way home.

I was welcomed by several club members, who showed me around and told me about their club, their facility, and their art. The upstairs gallery was full of finished pottery, paintings, and glasswork available for sale. The creativity and the craftsmanship of the pieces were impressive.

I especially enjoyed my visit to the studio space downstairs. It’s a functional and practical room, much tidier than I expected an art studio to be. In that sense it’s unremarkable.

But I loved being in the space where artists and artisans, teachers and learners do the skilful but unglamorous work of creating beautiful things. There are half a dozen potter’s wheels and a couple of kilns; there are storage spaces with materials like clay and glazes, others with tools and brushes. There are some pieces at varying stages of completion waiting to be fired or glazed, or fired again.

Being able to share space and equipment helps make art an accessible and affordable activity. Sharing ideas, techniques, and each other’s company can make the process even more enjoyable.

By coincidence, we have a lot of art stories in today’s paper. Visual art, choral music, band music, theatre, dance—they all tell the story of how art can enrich the lives of those who create it and those who enjoy it. It’s a popular and important form of recreation that benefits everybody.