Old School House art exhibit held in Victoria

Brett Poirier newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on August 3, 2014
With rolling fields in the background, Sylvia Ridgway holds one of her more recent pictures inspired by looking through her sister’s window. 
Brett Poirier/Journal Pioneer

VICTORIA — They do it because they want to, not because they have to.

That motto is common among past and present artists in the Village of Victoria.

Celebrating history, a local group organized a two-day event over the weekend to share and honour the work of local artists.

Sylvia Ridgway has been painting more than 30 years and was in attendance at the Old School House’s art exhibit.

Ridgway had one of her recent paintings in the show.

“My floral piece is based off a picture I once took,” said Ridgway. “My sister lived in an old house and one of the rooms had a beautiful window with a flowing curtain.”

With art in mind, Ridgway grabbed her camera and snapped a picture.

“The wind was blowing the curtain just enough and then I inserted a flower in the painting.”

Art is a waiting game; sometimes it takes patience to find the perfect picture.

“I try to make the most of my opportunities,” she said. “When you live in such a pretty area it’s not very hard to find nice things to paint.”

At the two-room schoolhouse about 50 onlookers gathered as Community Services Minister Valerie Docherty officially opened the exhibit.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of the artists in the area and I’m very envious of their talents but at the same time it’s so great to see their art displayed,” said Docherty.

With just about 100 residents in the village, 50 people is a great turnout, said organizers.

“This place is a treasure, there’s not many places on P.E.I. like Victoria” said the minister. “Everyone is supportive of each other here.”

Away from the hot debates and burning questions of Province House, Docherty said these types of events are the easy ones to get up for.

“I enjoy going to almost everything within my district because it connects you with what’s happening. When you get asked to be at something like this it’s not hard to say yes.”

You can call this exhibit Brenda Macquarrie Boudreau’s baby.

She’s spent countless hours as the chairperson of the Victoria Historical Association putting the event together.

“We started planning a couple months ago and until the morning of the show we were still making adjustments,” said Macquarrie Boudreau.

The association keeps busy throughout the year by archiving photos, organizing a Remembrance Day service and even celebrated the 100th birthday of a cash register.

“There are a lot of summer residents here so in the winter months we’re a smaller group but we try to keep productive,” said Macquarrie Boudreau.

This show likely wouldn’t become an annual event, she added, but the group is open for new projects.

“It would be great to see someone pick this up and host their own art show in the future but we will move on and look for other projects.”

Deemed a success by those in attendance, organizers are just happy to bring people together.

“It’s all about connecting the past and the present through art.”