Voice and Vision collaboration connects pen and brush


“We like to promote literacy and it’s a great marriage of that literacy in terms of writing, but also the creative side in terms of the arts and the creations that they make,” he said.

Since 2016, Airdrie Public Library (APL) has sought to join pen and brush with its Voice and Vision project – a collaborative program in which writers and artists come together to create written and visual pieces inspired by the everyone’s work.

Each year, artists and writers each present a piece (written or visual) to fellow members of the Voice and Vision committee. They are then required to respond to an assigned member’s piece in a thoughtful manner.

The final collaboration, comprising both written words and a visual interpretation, is then exhibited at the library in the fall. Finally, an official gala is organized to celebrate the co-created pieces, which are published in a book.

According to local writer and retired archaeologist Margaret Hanna, since joining the initiative in 2016 through her membership of the Airdrie Writers Group, participating in the Voice and Vision program has felt like a wonderful creative challenge.

“It’s encouraging and it’s wonderful to have that kind of feedback and support for what you’re doing,” Hanna said.

“Writing is kind of a lonely thing and it’s nice to be part of a community so you can get feedback and inspiration and motivation.”

Hanna said coming up with an idea for the first track of Voice and Vision is always a bit difficult, but sometimes an idea comes to her mind.

She added that this year was more of the old.

“I had the idea to write about a dress I’ve had for years — an antique flapper dress from the 1920s,” she said.

The dress, which Hanna found at an auction, was her inspiration for the story of a young woman who cleans out her deceased grandmother’s closet and discovers the sparkling garment, giving new insight into the past of his grandmother.

“She’s always remembered her grandmother as a fuddy duddy, and stuck in the back of the closet, she finds this 1920s flapper dress. And she suddenly has this image of her grandmother as this young woman, kind of avant-garde, living on the razor’s edge,” she said.

Hanna was partnered with local artist Veronica Funk, who was tasked with responding to the written submission with a visual representation.

“You never know who you’re going to be matched with because there are a dozen of us and so you’re matched randomly,” Hanna said.

“But the challenge is magnificent because it will take you out of your comfort zone.”

Funk, formerly arts and culture coordinator for APL, said that as an artist herself, she felt the Voice and Vision initiative was a perfect fit for the library, with its focus on arts and culture. culture and showcasing local creatives.

Responding to Hanna’s written post this year, Funk said she was inspired by her daughter’s collection of eco-friendly dresses that she designed and exhibited in Vancouver, with dresses from the 1920s to the 1920s. 1970.

“I had taken a lot of photos of her in those dresses she had designed,” Funk said. “As soon as I read Margaret’s article, I knew exactly what photo I wanted [to use].”

She said she incorporated photography inspiration with what Hanna wrote to design the artwork, including a feather boa, beads and implemented a rose motif in the dress. .

Funk added that she felt a connection to Hanna’s play and remarked that it felt like she and Hanna were meant to be partnered for the project.

“I think it’s really interesting to see the connections we make, but it’s also really nice to connect with the arts — the visual, the written — it all draws inspiration,” Funk said.

“I know as an artist what I read influences what I paint, so I don’t see any kind of disconnect in it all and there’s this beauty in there as well.”

Similarly, Hanna was tasked with responding to Funk’s original artwork submission. Title Commercial counter, the work presents a canoe in the colors of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The piece was inspired by Funk’s upbringing in northern Manitoba near the Churchill River in the boreal forest.

Funk said the piece was a tribute to her youth, but had a surprising connection to Hanna’s past.

“Turns out I spent a few summers there where [Funk] had grown up and most of my work [as an archaeologist] was in the boreal forest of northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan,” Hanna said. “So I realized how important canoeing has been and still is to the people who live there.”

She added that her response was written as if it were the canoe speaking to the audience, telling the story of the canoe through the Indigenous peoples who live there, the fur traders, to the adventurers who come north to the current time, following a historical arc.

“It was so interesting to read what [Hanna] wrote about what I drew, reflecting on his past, but also what’s happening in our world today and really how a canoe can reflect that,” Funk said of his partner’s response.

“She captured that in the words she wrote so well.”

According to Hanna, the Voice and Vision project creates a sense of community between writers and artists.

“We are all creators and I think it is important for the community as a whole to see what a vibrant and extensive group of artists and writers we have here in Airdrie,” she said. declared. “I think the arts are often overlooked or underestimated.”

Eric Pottie, head of programming and customer engagement at APL, said the library hosts Voice and Vision each year to bring artists and writers together and inspire creativity.

“It’s always very fascinating to see where people take it and we love being a part of that at the library so we can celebrate that community creativity year after year,” he said.

Pottie added that the submissions are on display now through October at the library in preparation for the September 24 Voice and Vision gala. The event is held in tandem with Alberta Culture Days throughout the month of September.

“We like to promote literacy and it’s a great marriage of that literacy in terms of writing, but also the creative side in terms of the arts and the creations that they make,” he said.


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