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Yarmouth Art Society supports Collins Street location for proposed Arts and Cultural Centre

Ivan Ray Blades, a member of the Yarmouth Art Society, paints in Alma Square during a SWITCH event.
Ivan Ray Blades, a member of the Yarmouth Art Society, paints in Alma Square during a SWITCH event.

Membership drive underway by Yarmouth Art Society

The Yarmouth Art Society, which was founded in the 1950s and has a membership of 70, supports the construction of a new arts and cultural centre at the Collins Street downtown site.

Society president Margriet Knubben says the society has 230 interested parties on its web notification list, with members representing visual arts like painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpting, cinematography, fibre arts, mixed media and jewelry making.

“All of these artists could benefit from being able to participate in space and programs in a new centre,” she said.

The art society is dedicated to bringing visual artists - amateur as well as professional – together to exchange ideas and information to promote art in the community by exhibitions, courses, workshops and other events open to the public. Children’s art is also encouraged.

Th’YARC (Yarmouth Arts Regional Centre) is a facility managed by an executive board and has a membership of 512. YARC members receive a discount on seating in the theatre, sponsored workshops and at local businesses. YARC management would prefer to see a new arts & culture centre at its site on Parade Street.

At its June 24 meeting, the Yarmouth Art Society approved a document clarifying the relationship between the separate entities:

“It has come to our attention that the arts council (Th’YARC) is claiming that they represent artists and artisans in our community and, therefore, we collectively support a Parade Street facility. We did participate in the study done by the arts council when James Colbeck was president. However, we consciously said we support a new arts and cultural centre with no location implied.”

The art society supports Th’YARC by having a membership, running a print facility and holding an annual show in the lobby.

It does not use the facility for meetings or workshops because of time or activity conflicts and lack of appropriate space.

The following comes from the minutes of the June 24 Yarmouth Art Society meeting:

“Using space at Th’YARC (a building) does not imply that we feel we are well represented and supported by the Yarmouth Arts Regional Council (an organization). The facts are that over the years the YAS has lost control of the gallery space which is now decorated as a theatre lobby, lost control of the upstairs arts room to storage, and lost representation on the board with the (James) Colbeck period restructuring.

“In addition there are no initiatives on the part of the council to support our society or any consultation with us on what our needs might be. We only represent a portion of the artists and artisans in our region but we think they are in the same position of not being represented by the arts council.”

The Yarmouth Art Society has launched a membership drive and Knubben says they would love to involve more young people in the society.

“It gives them a great opportunity to show their work and participate in workshops and courses for minimum costs,” she said.

The art society meets every month, (mostly the last Saturday) at 1 p.m. Meetings are held at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Main Street. The annual membership due is $15. The art society arranges for workshops in a variety of techniques and formats and has also coordinated courses of six to eight weeks in different media, taught by experienced and professional visual artists.  Members qualify for a reduced workshop or course fee.

 The art society has annual shows at the Yarmouth County Museum and Th'YARC.  There are also shows at different locations in town, for instance, at Bread and Olives this fall. Members also have a chance to be featured at the Yarmouth Waterfront Gallery, visited by over 3,000 local people and tourists during its six-month season.

To become a member of YAC

For more information about membership in the Yarmouth Art Society, call 902 761 2181 or email

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