Cambridge Bay celebrates 100 years with new arts studio and heritage park

·3 min read
The new Red Fish Arts studio has opened at what was the fish plant in the 1950s and aims to teach community members a mixture of welding and other art. It is funded in part by the Arctic Inspiration Prize won by Nunavut youth in 2018. (Submitted by Marla Limousin - image credit)
The new Red Fish Arts studio has opened at what was the fish plant in the 1950s and aims to teach community members a mixture of welding and other art. It is funded in part by the Arctic Inspiration Prize won by Nunavut youth in 2018. (Submitted by Marla Limousin - image credit)

Cambridge Bay unveiled a new arts studio and heritage park as part of its hundredth anniversary celebration on Tuesday.

The earliest inhabitants of Cambridge Bay lived there some 4,000 years ago. The hundredth anniversary marks the establishment of the first Hudson's Bay trading post in the hamlet and when the RCMP first set up its base there as well.

The new Red Fish Arts studio has opened at what was the fish plant in the 1950s and aims to teach community members a mixture of welding and other art. It is funded in part by the Arctic Inspiration Prize won by Nunavut youth in 2018.

The group won $100,000 to open a local welding studio to create art with recycled metal. Marla Limousin, the chief operating officer at Cambridge Bay, said the new studio is a space for community members, many of whom are looking for ways to be involved and engaged, can come and learn together,

"We basically understand through our own experiences, through the welding project that you can kind of turn people's lives around," Limousin said.

Submitted by Marla Limousin
Submitted by Marla Limousin

"By having them in a creative forum, allowing that place to create a community — [it will] certainly deal with boredom issues [and] it will certainly deal with creativity and keeping that mind thinking another way."

The other forms of art the community can learn about at the studio include watercolour painting, acrylic painting or sketching.

Limousin said this means there's some kind of art that every person can be involved in, and that it is especially important for youth in the community who are trying to learn more about their culture.

"All these [art forms] can help display or interpret culture through art," she said.

"We have a lot of kids … not everyone's an athlete, not everybody wants to do sports, so it was a more passive recreation."

Limousin also said the studio can help combat the stress that so many people feel on a daily basis.

"I always love the quote by Pablo Picasso, where he says, 'The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,'" she says.

"We know that in daily life, there's a lot of challenges. So for that time people are in the studio, just having fun in creating, they're not thinking about anything else. They're just focusing on their own creativity."

Submitted by Marla Limousin
Submitted by Marla Limousin

The studio currently has an after school program for children and youth, an elders' program during the day and a third program for the general public to come in and create art together.

The Itqaumavik Heritage Park was also a part of the municipality's 100-year celebration last week, though it has been around since 2019 when it first opened.

The park is known as a place of memories because it has historical buildings, including the clapboard Hudson's Bay buildings and the federal building that once housed the first school, and then the RCMP.

Limousin said the park has also been an important part of the community because it has given youth and families a place to go and spend time at.

"Part of getting the youth involved in the park was to try and eliminate vandalism by having them involved in it … because they used to hang out in this park," she said. "I think it's given them a destination."

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