© Mike Carson - Journal Pioneer.
Lise Genova, left, president of the Kensington Artist Co-op, and co-op founder Gloria Sonier, second right and Marlene Campbell, cultural program coordinator for the MacNaught History Centre, look over a work by artist Carol MacKinnon. MacKinnon is a new artist from Charlottetown and is one of 15 artists who are displaying works at the centre as part of the co-op’s exhibit.
KENSINGTON – Winter Light, a display of Island artists from the Kensington Artist Co-op, is on display at the MacNaughht History Centre in Summerside.
The exhibit features the work of 15 artists, most depicting winter.
Co-op president Lise Genova and Gloria Sonier, a founding member of the co-op, said the reputation of the organization is growing.
“The co-op started about seven years ago and it was Donna Sutton who got together with Gloria Sonier and Rollande Meloche, two members right now of the group, and they wanted to find a place to show their paintings,” Genova said.
She said it was fortunate that the Town of Kensington had a location at the back of the train station called the ‘Shed’ and offered it to the women to display their work in the summer months.
“So, that’s how it started,” she said. “So every year they show paintings. Tourists started to come along and then we also have local people. It’s been very successful.”
The group itself takes on the task of setting up the gallery each year to save money.
Sonier said Kensington Mayor Gordon Coffin was instrumental in helping the co-op in its efforts to display its art.
“The mayor contacted us and wanted to know if we would like a building to hang our work in,” she said. “We did and we met with them. They set it all up for us with anything we needed - lighting, whatever we needed for the gallery, they paid for. They did our signage. I think it’s worked out very well for the Town of Kensington and us as well.”
Sonier said the co-op has 20 members and some on a waiting list to join.
“We don’t take more than 20 because the place has only so much space to show and we can’t take more people,” Genova said. “During the summer we do invite artists and they can show their paintings during the season, but if they want to become members they can always put their name on the list.”
The gallery is only open during the summer months, June through August.
“This is the first time that the Kensington Artist Co-op is showing at the MacNaught Centre,” Genova said. “They showed last year at the Eptek Centre for the first time too. As the president, I decided we should show work in the winter. It gets us to do a bit of painting because it’s something new.”
Sonier said having winter showings is an incentive to artists.
“For me, it has been a wonderful experience,” she said. “It keeps you painting and it’s nice that people can see your work and appreciate what you do. We have a lot of people that come back. Even summer residents will come back year after year to see what’s new. And I’m always amazed at the new work that’s going on.”
Genova said last year, three artists painted a mural that they gave to the Town of Kensington for its co-operation in helping the co-op find a home.
“It represents the train (era),” Genova said. “It’s a big train with lots of colours. It’s sitting in front of the train station. We‘re going to do a second panel this year and hopefully three other members will work on it and we will do a scene of the old days in the village of Kensington.”
The exhibition at the MacNaught History Centre runs until March 30 and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The official opening reception is Feb.5 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.