Arts council rebuilding interest and volunteers after the pandemic

Since the pandemic, volunteers with the Art Council of East Lambton felt they have to start everything from scratch, said Helen Williamson.

Williamson is one of five active volunteers with the art council, which numbers dwindled under the restrictions and lock downs that were brought on by the pandemic. The group has The ART Shop in Watford open in the afternoons of Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Thursday and Friday are geared towards adults with many activities centred on card making and scrap booking. Saturday is geared towards children.

Williamson is able to give one-on-one instruction to children if they want to stop by on Saturday. The organization wants to do more and is looking for volunteers for the organization, as well as those who just want to develop their artistic talents at The ART Shop.

A flag is always flying in front of The ART Shop when it is open, and everyone is encouraged to drop in. You can bring your own project or use the art council’s supplies for a small donation.

The Art Council of East Lambton just began as an idea in 2013, but it found itself a home in 2016 with The ART Shop. The storefront is an art community centre, gallery and studio. In 2022, the group delivered 19 workshops off site, but it wants to do more at the ART Shop, and it is looking for people to help. In the past, the group has offered many learning opportunities from drawing, weaving, jewellery making, fabric painting, sewing, crocheting and knitting, among others.

Williamson said it would be gradual as they rebuild the activities being offered at The ART Shop. She hopes the traction can be built so once again it can become what it was before the pandemic.

Cutline: Twelve-year-old Shyanne Kinna of Watford was making a mask at The ART Shop on Saturday afternoon

Blake Ellis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent