Artists on a mission
Annapolis Valley Decorative Artists continue to support community, foster talent
They are a group of decorative artists on a mission to give back to the community.
Established 23 years ago, the Annapolis Valley Decorative Artists (AVDA) painting guild was organized as a group of people with a common interest in painting. It currently has 48 members and new recruits are welcome.
AVDA member and art and gift sale chairwoman Brenda Parker said that, excluding the summer, the group meets every month at the Greenwich Fire Hall to paint, learn new techniques and work on several community service projects.
These include painting small memory boxes for the Valley Regional Hospital to be given to family members of stillborn babies. They also paint boxes for the SPCA and Hope for Wildlife, and paint tiles for the Canadian Mental Health Foundation. Parker said the members “firmly believe in giving back to our community.”
The group has been supporting the hospital for several years, beginning with painting murals for the pediatric ward.
“They expressed a need for something a parent of a deceased child can put little mementos in of the child, so that the child’s memory is not forgotten,” Parker said. “It’s just a way of us offering some support to Valley Regional in all that they do.”
The artists found a supplier of small, wooden boxes and began painting them as memory boxes for the hospital. They also paint boxes for various charitable causes. These boxes are a little smaller and are hinged. The artists donate these to the various charities, which, in turn, sell them to raise funds.
Parker said the AVDA is very supportive of those who want to learn. She has always had an interest in painting and got into decorative art to learn the basics. When she joined the AVDA, it opened her world to all sorts of educational opportunities.
The guild brings in an artist to put on a three-day workshop each year and there are other, shorter seminars held throughout the year. The members also go on occasional painting retreat weekends.
“It’s really expanded my knowledge and my comfort in painting,” Parker said.
Art and gift sale
Each year during the first weekend of November, the members showcase their talents at the AVDA Art and Gift Sale. It’s an opportunity for members to sell their art, which can include Christmas tree ornaments, wall art, paintings, furniture, metal art, pickles, carvings, and more.
One of the group’s main annual fundraisers is a quilt draw. Tickets are sold for several months leading up to the sale with the draw taking place at the sale, this year on Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. Each year, a quilt with a different theme is designed and various members each paint a block.
The quilt is pieced together and hand-quilted to create a one-of-akind, useable, washable piece of art. Parker said the actual hand quilting is done by two other groups, alternating between the Kingsport Quilters and the VON’s volunteer quilters.
Visitors to the art and gift sale will have an opportunity to create a piece of art. The two projects being offered this year are a wintery owl painting and a fall leaf painting. Beginning at 10 a.m. Nov. 3, the owl takes about an hour to complete and costs $5. Beginning at 1 p.m. Nov. 3, the fall leaf piece takes about two hours and costs $10. No prior painting experience is necessary and all supplies are provided.
Parker said they’ve found in prior years that families enjoy taking part in the painting exercise together.
“We’ve had young families come in, (they) all sit down and do a painting together. It’s kind of neat,” Parker said.
Space is limited, so those wishing to try their hand at painting are asked to contact Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-register. Participants can still register at the sale on Nov. 3 if spaces remain available.
Annapolis Valley Decorative Artists member and art and gift sale chairwoman Brenda Parker with the quilt guild members have been selling tickets on as a fundraiser. The draw takes place Nov. 3 at the art and gift sale.