Way Up West (photo: Jan Cox)

Permanent home

New West Prince Arts Council location

Way Up West | by Jan Cox

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There is nothing old school about the new West Prince Arts Council.

Last year saw the WPAC celebrate their 40th anniversary. In the spring they purchased the 103 year old school house in the community of Woodstock. It was the former Windmill Co-op Craft and Gift shop which had closed in 2016. What a way to celebrate!

“What does it mean to the West Prince Arts Council to have a permanent location…the question really is, what it means to the artists of West Prince. After all, that is what the WPAC is all about—the artists of West Prince… There is so much talent that needs a place to grow from,” said acting WPAC Deborah Kerr.

Treasurer Marlene Bolger said, “It needed a lot of work. We were able to fundraise $50,000 toward major renovations. The fundraising will be ongoing.”

The building houses a retail craft shop, the WPAC offices and space to hold demonstrations and offers eight art courses to the public. Weaving, painting, sculpture, photography, rug hooking, basket weaving, paper Mache and paper crafts round out the roster of courses available.

“Members of the WPAC are welcome to show and sell their work on consignment. Membership is only $20 annually and the artist must live in West Prince,” Ms. Bolger said. “We are hoping to expand our space and make use of the basement area as well. Since having this permanent location, there has been more interest in the Council with membership now at more than 30.”

Another important component of the Arts Council is their Grant Program. The grants are up to $500. You must be a west prince resident and a WPAC member in order to submit your proposal. Also, two $250 scholarships are offered at Westisle Composite High to students pursuing the Arts.

Volunteers will staff the Arts building in the summer, seven days a week from 10 am to 6 pm. You can follow the Council on their facebook page; West Prince Arts Council Inc. On March 24, the group is holding a fundraising Bingo at the O’Leary Legion. Doors open at 12:30 pm with the fun getting started at 1:30 pm.

Acting president Deborah Kerr sums up her feelings about the WPAC needing a place to call home. “…I know from experience just how important an actual location is…It can be a lot of different things to different people. It can be a place to learn an art, to just pass an afternoon or to enhance a career. It can be a place to teach or to learn. There are some really talented people that just need a stepping stone.”

Jan CoxWay Up WestWest Prince Arts Council
Jan Cox

My partner and I moved to the island from Ottawa in August 2003. We quickly became avid fans of "The Buzz". I would search out the monthly read at the liquor stores of West Prince! I retired in June 2015 and found myself one afternoon, on a weekday no less, outside The Buzz office in Charlottetown. I met Peter and the gang and after singing the praises of the publication, suggested they needed a voice from West of Summerside. Me and my big mouth - three years later I am still writing "Way Up West" every month and it has been a joy. It's a win win - I get to work with a wonderful group of people at The Buzz and I am thrilled to be meeting folks from up west and area.