Sometime around 2010, I attended a meeting at the Kingsville District High School regarding the fate of our local schools. The photographer for the Kingsville Reporter at the time approached me with an invitation that felt like a plea to join a committee that needed assistance.
Since permanently settling in Kingsville in 2002, I had been active in the community. I served on the Parent Advisory Committee of Kingsville Public School, and volunteered for a variety of non-profits and local charities.
My immediately reaction to the photographer’s invitation was, “Of course I will!” … and then I asked for details. When he identified the group as the Arts and Cultural Association of Kingsville (ACAK), I replied, “But I’m not an artist.”
He said, “You teach Kindermusik, that’s close enough.” So I attended the next meeting, met some incredible people, including the late Joan Cotte. I fell in love with this eclectic group that made me feel so welcome that I joined the Board and become an active supporter of the group, which was then a sub-committee of the BIA.
Unfortunately, within a short time, the BIA dissolved the committee. This decision was conveyed to the ACAK members in the middle of a meeting and was effective immediately.
After the initial shock, members experienced sadness, disappointment, anger and outrage.
A few of us decided to walk over to Vernon’s Tap and Grill to process the news. Around the table, the consensus was that Kingsville needed an Arts Society. We each put $20 on the table, and the Arts Society of Kingsville was born.
I can’t take much credit for the transformation of the group to its current status, although I remained a strong supporter and maintained many of the professional and personal relationships I had formed.
After being elected to Council, I continued to support the vision and work of ASK, articulating the importance of the arts in general, and specifically pointing to the unique value added by the Arts Society to the Town of Kingsville.
I was extremely pleased when they were able to take possession of the main floor of the historic Carnegie building to house a local art gallery and was excited to renew my membership.
Over the past year, I have had the exceptional opportunity to volunteer regularly for ASK at the beautiful Carnegie building. My Sunday mornings spent there are a lovely way to start or end the week. I leave feeling calmer, more peaceful, and positively energized by the art, the space, and the amazing people (and dogs) I encounter.
I love greeting the visitors, providing information about the current exhibit and our wonderful town, and I consider this opportunity a gift.
The artists of ASK bring an incredibly diverse array of talent that includes painting in all its forms, photography, glass work, woodwork, fabric art, pottery, jewellery making, story telling, music making, and so much more.
These dedicated and passionate individuals generously contribute their time and talent to teach classes, share their work, and encourage and inspire others to create.
Many volunteers are required to keep the art gallery and visitors centre open to the public six days a week. Along with artistic skills, we require administrative, financial, marketing, communication, information technology, maintenance, and more. Volunteers are always needed.
Membership is inexpensive and provides an opportunity to attend meetings, exhibit art, meet wonderful people, and contribute to Kingsville’s thriving arts and cultural experience.
I am proud to be a member and active volunteer of the Arts Society of Kingsville and I encourage you to ASK me about it!
Photos provided by Laura Lucier