Connecting art with people has been the goal of ARTspace since its’ inception and for Laurie Langford, it’s an idea that just keeps getting better.
“I’m very proud of the way ARTspace has evolved,” she said. “We had all these goals and ideas when we started in 2008 and when I look back and see how far we’ve come, it’s amazing.”
Langford is the incoming chair of the ARTspace Advisory Board, a member of the Thames Art Gallery Advisory Board and an artist in her own right.
The eight-member board oversees operation of the ARTspace gallery on King Street, a place where new, emerging and established community artists exhibit and sell their work.
“I look at ARTspace from a committee member as well as from the viewpoint of an artist,” she said. “I cut my teeth as an artist at ARTspace and it’s given me the courage and support to further explore my art.”
Although creation of art is a solitary process, she said, artists need the encouragement, feedback and critique of other artists to grow.
“The belief some people have that artists are lone wolves isn’t true,” she said. “There is a huge social component to art.”
“Unless you’re an artist it’s difficult to understand that the creative process can be terrifying. You reveal so much of yourself you feel naked and vulnerable. The support of others is critical to help you go on.”
ARTspace also provides workshops in art and the business of art. “You need to be able to submit a proposal, to speak about your work and to draw the interest of people if you want them to look at your work and have it placed in exhibitions.”
“Since I’ve gone through the process locally, I have been able to take my work to Michigan,” she said. “Without the local experience, it wouldn’t have happened.”
As well as having helped individual artists, ARTspace has had success developing partnerships with community groups.
“We have had three exhibitions with the Children’s Treatment Centre; we’ve worked with
groups in Ridgetown, Buxton and Wallaceburg,” Langford said.
Like the Thames Art Gallery, there is no admission to ARTspace. “We have a situation in Chatham-Kent that is envied by other communities,” she said. “We encourage people to come in, to be part of what we do, to join us in celebrating art.”
She said the local art for sale at ARTspace provides encouragement for community artists.
“When you hear an artist talk about how someone bought something they made, there is excitement and energy that’s tangible,” she said.
She said her goal for ARTspace this year is to continue community building.
“We recently held an event at Bayside Brewery,” she said. “We’re interested in speaking with anyone who wants to join with us in promoting the incredibly talented people who live in our community.”
Anyone interested in ARTspace can contact the group at http://www.artspacechathamkent.com/
or by calling 519-352-1064.