Monday 9 a.m. - 12 noon
Tuesday 9 a.m. - 12 noon
Wednesday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday 12 noon - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday 12 noon - 4:00 p.m.
Greater Napanee Area Arts Association (GNAAA) Show September 1 - 27
"My wish is to provoke change, inspire thought, and promote connection through my work."
Joanne Kells Chalmers, first-prize winner in the current juried show at the WAG.
To create her pieces, Joanne paints over a first layer of collaged images and, in this case, lettering, as well as textures that include geometric patterns and squiggles made with paint. As she explains, “The letters represent the words in news articles, blogs, social media posts, etc., that have bombarded us from the beginning during this pandemic. The compass represents our resulting conflicted directions. We don’t know what to listen to or how to make informed decisions. The indecipherable squiggles and marks reveal the clouded state of our minds. In all of this confusion, it’s easier to get into your comfort zone and wait it out.”
The day of the hanging of “Joy!” I spoke to the president of the GNAAA, Gerry Hogaboam. She told me the group was formed in 2014 because artists in the area felt the need for a recognized association that could support all levels, from hobby artists to established artists with an entrepreneurial bent. Currently the group has 44 members, mostly retirees, including a number who have recently moved to the Napanee area as part of the COVID urban exodus. The town of Napanee is very supportive, says Gerry. It provides community space to meet and has sponsored all four of the GNAAA juried shows. The association has also forged partnerships with the Lennox and Addington library and hospital, where exhibitions are held. The Waterfront Restaurant and Pub in Napanee likewise allows the group to show in an upstairs space.
Joanne—a member of the Greater Napanee Area Arts Association (GNAAA)—had this goal in mind when she submitted her mixed media entitled Comfort Zone, which expresses pandemic anxiety, inertia and vulnerability, but also solace and reassurance as the body draws into itself to find safety and relief.
Eighteen GNAAA artists each contributed two pieces to this juried exhibition co-ordinated by Margaret Brackley and Diane Phaneuf. Janice Brown, with a 20-year career as an art teacher and practising artist, had the job of judge. Second Prize went to Snowy Shield Revisited, an oil by Tim Nimigan; third prize was shared by Susan Balog (Zebras at Chobe Park Botswana, watercolour) and Gary Barnett (Sphere, acrylic). Four Honourable Mentions were also chosen.
Past workshops organized by the GNAAA ranged from short, fun, learning experiences to three-day events with seasoned artists from outside the area, which attracted participants from bigger cities. Today, like many arts organizations, the GNAAA has had to respond creatively to the constraints of COVID. The association has mounted online shows and sales, maintained an active web site and Facebook page, and taken advantage of seasonal weather by offering plein air “paint-outs.”
A Special Thanks to Ulrike Bender for the GNAAA story.