The Whitney Pier Society for the Arts is gearing up for its 13th annual Pierscape festival which will run from Monday, May 10th until Saturday the 15th. It was founded to showcase the arts and culture based in the Whitney Pier neighborhood. The neighbourhood festival commemorates the works and contributions of the area’s many artists, musicians, and community cultural societies.
The week’s range of events presents music cafes, concerts, art exhibits, and workshops. Local artist and organizer Catherine Moir describes the arts festival as including “something for everybody.”
One of the big features of the week will be the art exhibit at Whitney Pier Memorial Junior High, with over 180 paintings being displayed. Local artists of note include Onni Nordman, Carol and Gordon Kennedy, Taiya Barss, Bill Rogers, Patsy McKinnon, Linda Lou MacIntyre, Basma Kavanagh, Chris Gorey, Deanie Cox and Charles Doucette. Works will be on display Tuesday through Saturday, 9am to 8pm each day.
According to Moir, the Pierscape art display is not a typical art gallery installation. “The very interesting thing I find about [the display] is that it’s a very eclectic show.” Moir explained that most art shows are organized around a certain theme, art genre, or single artist, whereas the Pierscape exhibition will run the gamut from beginners to professional visual artists. For Moir, this makes for a fun exhibit, where visitors will navigate through a maze of display easels. “It’s a more eclectic, diverse way of putting on an art show.”
“Eclectic and diverse” is appropriate for the multicultural Whitney Pier neighbourhood. Historically, the area is one of Canada’s most multicultural neighbourhoods due to the early 20th century opening of the Steel Mill, which drew workers from all over the world seeking employment. By way of example, Moir mentioned that the African Orthodox and Ukrainian churches are the only ones of their kind east of Montreal.
The main featured musician for 2010 is Mary Pierrynowski, founder and director of St. Mary’s Polish Choir. Founded 40 years ago as a youth choir, the group has evolved into a 13-member a capella choir that performs in Polish. In addition to special performances, the group performs Sunday Mass weekly at the 9:30am service at St. Mary’s Church.
Moir highlighted a workshop with folk artist Joe McKinnon held May 15, 1-4pm. Participants will learn about the history of folk art and will each have the opportunity to paint and take home a woodcarving made by McKinnon.
The Pierscape week will conclude with an Italian Buffet at St. Nicholas Church Hall. Tickets should be purchased in advance, as Moir explained that “this one is usually sold out well in advance.” The dinner is a bring-your-own-wine event, and live entertainment will be provided.
Moir added that the Whitney Pier Society for the Arts is always looking for new board members, adding that many of their membership is over 70 years of age. “We would love to have some younger folks join.” She emphasized that anyone interested is welcome to join, and can contact the society at (902) 567-1492. “We always have the best board meetings.”
To book tickets, those interested can contact the Pierscape organizers at (902) 567-1492. For more information about Pierscape, visit pierscape.ca