14 January 2010

Call for Applications for Awards from Professional Visual Artists Fund


The Greater Saint John Community Foundation and the New Brunswick Museum announced the deadline for annual award applications from the permanently endowed Professional Visual Artists Fund.  Artists from the greater Saint John region have until February 15 to submit requests for modest support to help defray exhibition costs.

In 2003 a group of local artists, Suzanne Hill, Carol Taylor, Lynn Wigginton and Pat Schell, recognized the precarious financial situation of most artists and the substantial costs they incur to participate in exhibitions. With this in mind, they set out to establish a permanent fund with The Greater Saint John Community Foundation, tailored to support artists’ ongoing work with earnings from the fund.

The group, known as The Tea Towel Team, organized a series of events which raised awareness of artists and their work while raising funds. The first was the Art in The City Studio and Gallery Tour in 2003. In 2005, they organized Art and Artifacts, in partnership with the New Brunswick Museum. This exhibition featured 24 professional artists, who each created a significant work of art relating to some aspect of the New Brunswick Museum’s collections. WhoDunIt?, held in 2007,  provided an opportunity for art enthusiasts to purchase an original “mystery” art work created and donated by 50 local professional visual artists.

The Professional Visual Artists Fund is administered by the Community Foundation and dispenses annual awards to professional artists.  New Brunswick Museum continues the partnership established in fundraising efforts by coordinating the annual awards process.  Information on the criteria and application process is available on the New Brunswick Museum website.  The deadline for submission of applications is February 15.  One or more awards of several hundred dollars may be made annually.

The first award was presented in 2009 to Alison Murphy to assist in developing and presenting an exhibition Where the Fish Swim. Murphy’s work is textile based, incorporating techniques including needle felting, appliqué, beading, thread painting and knitting. This exhibition, says Murphy, “will push my work from a literal depiction of the landscape toward a more poetic, abstracted study.” Murphy is a graduate of the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, where she was a recipient of the Nel Oudemans Scholarship as well as the New Brunswick Arts Board Scholarship. Since 2005 she has exhibited and sold her textile wall hangings at retails shows and galleries throughout the Maritimes.

It is hoped that the Professional Visual Artists Fund will continue to grow, as it is augmented by future fundraising events and donations from supporters of the arts. 

“The Greater Saint John Community Foundation welcomes the opportunity to be entrusted with a fund which benefits the arts community and visual artists. We serve as a trustee for charitable, educational and cultural purposes and administer funds given by public-spirited individuals for the benefit of the people of this area. Over $175,000 was donated in 2008 to over 50 local charities,” stated Jane Barry, the Foundation’s Executive Director. 

Applications should be submitted to the New Brunswick Museum by February 15. New Brunswick’s provincial museum has a long history of supporting New Brunswick artists by collecting and exhibiting their work.

For further information:

Jane Barry, Greater Saint John Community Foundation 506 672-8880

Vita Kipping, New Brunswick Museum, 506 643-2358