Community Art Walk a success

·4 min read

Limerick Township had their Community Art Walk on Oct. 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and it went very well. While the event had had its setbacks, being postposed last May due to COVID-19 and then almost being cancelled last month due to newly introduced provincial restrictions, it was finally able to proceed as scheduled. It was well attended, despite the ongoing pandemic, and all health and safety guidelines were followed.

Held at the Limerick Recreation Centre on Highway 620, it featured a number of local artists from Limerick and the surrounding areas showcasing their wares. There was also a silent auction with donated art items from the various artists present, as well as a power drill from Timber Mart. All told, organizer Natalie Phillips says they had about 20 people attend, and raised over $500 that will go toward youth programs in the township.

Phillips organized the event with her daughter Breanna, and she contributed an abstract painting to the silent auction. She and her daughter contributed handmade jewellery pieces to the silent auction as well. She was a little worried that the event wouldn’t go well at first, but was gratified to see it was busy right from the start.

“People are looking for stuff to do. They just want to get out and do something,” she says.

Mayor Carl Stefanski thought the art walk was fantastic. “It’s so well put together and I’m happy with it. There’s a lot of talent in this township. You look around, there’s a lot of hours invested here,” he says.

Councillor Ingo Weise was also in attendance and thought it was going so well it would end up being an annual event.

“I was concerned people would stay home to watch the [U.S.] debate. Good thing there’s no hockey on. But it’s really going great so far. There’s a lot of talent, it’s incredible,” he says.

Artist Shawna Lockhart was there with her various wood art pieces.

“I build it all, everything from sculpted maple to elm. I even have an applewood piece. I like [the event], I’m surprised by how many people showed up with COVID-19 going on. It’s been awesome,” she says.

The acrylic paintings of Aline LeBlanc were being showcased, and LeBlanc and her husband John were also there to answer any questions.

“It’s mostly animals I do,” explains LeBlanc, “but I also do portraits by request.”

Artist Shirley Polmateer was there with her paintings and was happy with the walk. She thought it was a wonderful way to get people out for a while.

“It also helps the young people. It’s also a good time to buy things for Christmas too. We have a good variety of stuff. I’m always intrigued by the wood art [pointing to the wood art of Lockhart],” she says.

Maple Shack Tacos and More was there sponsoring the event. While owner Sharne van Onselen could not attend, her daughter Martinique and her son in law Jesse Wease, were there. In addition to making a donation of a gift basket to the silent auction, they also had some art on display. Martinique’s grandmother, who was not there, had some of her paintings set up. Wease had some welded metal art he was showing as well. He had a metallic flower with railway spikes as the flower’s petals, a bottle opener fashioned from a railway spike, and a metallic snail.

“I worked at the hospital doing patient transfers, so I would just walk the train tracks every night and find all the discarded railway spikes. They were just scattered all over the place there. I have a mountain of them at home,” he says.

Artist Steve Brown, who was unable to attend, did donate a wooden bowl to the silent auction. While he was very excited about the art walk, according to Phillips, he ultimately decided not to come due to the pandemic.

Artist Anne Garwood Roney also had a table there with her art, conveying simplified natural forms like water in textiles. She was also quite ecstatic about the event and the way it was unfolding.

Overall, Phillips was happy with the turnout, even with the trouble they had had; the event being postponed due to COVID-19 back in May and it almost getting cancelled last month due to the new provincial restrictions released Sept. 21.

“I love all the different styles of art we got in too. We have paintings, wood, stone and metal art. It’s just great!" she says.

Going forward, Phillips would like to try to put on another art walk in the spring.

“I think May’s a good time. It’s before tourist season and it’s nicer weather. Perhaps we could even have it outdoors with a tent. We’ll have more time to come up with more ideas for next spring. I’d like to keep it more local for now to get locals involved more creatively and in buying the art,” she says. “Let’s get the locals involved and then we can navigate it from there.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times