W(here) day 2 – Award Ribbons and unexpected artistic discoveries

Visitng Artist Marlene Creates enjoys the boat ride to Pictou Island

Award Ribbons for Places is a project headed by visiting artist Marlene Creates as part of a very eventful day two of the W(here) Festival.Creates is an environmental artist and poet who lives and works in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland, Canada. “For over thirty years her work has been an exploration of the relationship between human experience, memory, language and the land, and the impact they have on each other.” In this installation project, locals from the area (including myself) created award ribbons for a place in Pictou that had special significance to them. The participants will then, over the next couple of days, travel to each place and present the place with their ribbon. Documentation of this will be posted on the W(here) website, so be sure to visit back often.www.wherefestival.ca What is my special place? Well, you will have to stay tuned tomorrow! Myself and fellow Pictonian John Burns accidentally chose the very same place, and so will be doing a bit of a collaborative presentation that is sure to knock your socks off.   In the afternoon, using the framework of the life and times of Pictou Island nurse, Margaret MacDonald (1897-1977), we travelled to Pictou Island, a small private island off the coast of Caribou, NS. On Pictou Island, writer Susan Sellers lead us to various sites that played a major role in MacDonald’s life. The walk was informative and adventurous, but I was wondering how the tour would tie in with the W(here) festival’s connection of art and a sense of place. It was then that we ran into Maureen Hull, also a writer ( Check out her book “The View from a Kite“. I give it two thumbs up) and an Islander who took us to the Community Centre, where several of her neighbors and her have been working on a quilt.

Artouteast readers, I am well aware that this masterpiece will not be regarded as “high art”; this quilt will probably never be displayed in a gallery alongside the quilted works of Joyce Weiland or Anna Torma. But this quilt has the technique of masters, the passion of any artist and the history and tradition reminding the medium of its roots. It is a celebration of art and place, which is exactly what W(here) is all about.

For more on the history of Margaret MacDonald, be sure to read Susan Summer’s article “Pictou Island’s unsung heroine”www.pictouisland.com


W(here) kitchen party launches!

For those of you who don’t know, let me introduce you to my home town, Pictou, Nova Scotia. Nestled on the Northumberland Strait, it’s a community of fishin’ and farmin’. My lovely friend and fellow Pictonian Mary MacDonald, created the W(here) Festival as the research project for her Masters of Fine Arts degree at OCAD University in Toronto in Criticism & Curatorial Practice. This festival has proved to be so much more than that, bringing “together local artists, diverse communities and visiting artists in a rich program for all ages. Discussions with the local community will form the basis from which the project will grow as well as the artists, locations and modes of presentation chosen.”

Tonight was the Launch event, the “Kitchen Party” was a social event, with artists talks and discussions. Painters, sculptors, filmmakers, textile artists, all with a common thread of place, came to share their stories and work with the community.


Artists included Dawn MacNutt, Susan Tilsley Manley, St. Clair Prest, Carolyn Vienneau, Fenn Martin, Eliza Fernbach, and Amanda MacDonald.

For more information on the W(here) festival, visit artouteast daily! or visit


 Image (l to r): Dawn MacNutt, Timeless Figure, 66.9 in..; Fenn Martin, Ceramic relief sculpture, approximately 120 x 60 in.

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