Welcome to our new blog…
We’ve decided to take our entire social media strategy in a slightly different direction… in that we decided to actually make it a priority. Until now we’ve limited ourselves to a static website — which looks awesome — and our Facebook page where we announce upcoming events.
But the problem with a static website is, there’s no reason to come back on a regular basis. So all of that wonderful information on local artists gets lost in the archives. And the problem with keeping our Facebook page all to ourselves — by only updating when there’s one of our events, is we get lost in Facebook news feeds filled with LOL cats and updates on dinner menus.
Done properly Facebook can be an awesome tool for artists and artisans, but if a page isn’t updated regularly and often, it gets ignored. And that’s just not fair to either the artists we exhibit, or the ones we could be helping get their start.
It also just doesn’t seem right to be so limited when the Internet is so unlimited… besides, this region has so many great artists who need more exposure, and we can help. So, instead, now we’re now going to (also) highlight artists and artisans from the Vankleek Hill region on our Facebook page, even if they’re not currently showing at our Gallery.
And we’ve also created a blog where we can post biographies and videos showcasing local artists and artisans — including letting our social media subscribers know where and when their shows will be held… we know we can help artists reach a larger audience.
And we know we can use social media to form partnerships with arts groups and councils to not only improve the services we offer at the Gallery, but to make the audiences for local artists even larger.
Frankly, there are things we can help with, and things we need help with.
Vankleek Hill has a long history of being a centre of Eastern Ontario’s arts and cultural scenes — Freda Pemberton Smith, Susan Jephcott, Elisabeth Skelly, to name three with long standing ties to this community… in the past we’ve even had Prime Ministers take a stroll around town during The May Show, our annual arts festival and incubator for local artists.
Formally, the Arbor Gallery has been a part of Vankleek Hill since 1993, but the building itself — previously owned by Dale Alpen and Owen Whiteside (who ran the the Alpen School of Art and helped start The May Show) has been an essential location for local artists since the early 1980’s.
More than ninety artists have shown their work at the Arbor Gallery in the past five years, including major exhibits by Susan Jephcott, Donald Liardi and Freda Pemberton Smith.
Our ‘Board of Directors’ is made up entirely of artists who live in this area — Justin Bromberg, Mark Greenwald, Jean Clermont, Reenie Marx and myself (Gabriel Landriault… hi).
So we know what it’s like to need help, but not know where to get it. We know what it’s like to need information… like, where the spaces to exhibit are, how much for a space, where the sales are on the materials we need. We’ve all filled out the same forms looking for grants, have tried to find places to exhibit our work… have tried to sell our work, and have tried to find an audience.
This isn’t a new idea by a long shot. Except it is, for us, now.
So… tl;dr: we’re looking for artists, galleries, artisans, events, performances, lunatics, geniuses, high school students, newbies, veterans, people with no Internet connections who need a hand, people with a thousand Facebook followers who are willing to help out the newbies…
And when we find them, we’ll share them here (check out our sidebar on the left) and on our Facebook account.
We’re going to start our new biography series with Freda Pemberton Smith… which, when you think her influence on this region, it just seems to make a lot of sense.
In the next few weeks we’ll continue with Jennifer Gibbs, Hailey Eva — a ten-year old prodigy who was featured in the Ottawa Citizen last year, members of our Board, and we’ll look at the original members of the group of artists who started Vankleek Hill’s “May Show Arts Festival” 35-years ago… which also makes a lot of sense, because the latest one is coming up quickly.
We’ll also have more information about upcoming shows at our gallery, and other cool stuff…
So, if you know of any artists you’d like to see featured here, or on our Facebook page — even if it’s you, or your own web site, leave us a comment here, send us an email or leave us a comment on our Facebook page, and we’ll make sure to help get the word out.
…hey, we’re all in this together.