Trea­sure aplenty at an­nual Folk Art Fes­ti­val

Nova Sco­tia folk art has ‘cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of the pub­lic,’ says vol­un­teer

South Shore Breaker - - AUTO - JOSH HEALEY edi­tor@southshore­breaker.ca

Ev­ery coun­try has its folk art, but Nova Sco­tia has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of the pub­lic. Sue Kelly

Their art — in the pure, hon­est way that folk art presents it­self — will come as carved wood, found­fab­rics, bits and pieces made anew.

And for Sue Kelly, vol­un­teer chair of the Nova Sco­tia Folk Art Fes­ti­val, there is a magic to it all.

“We’re very proud,” she said. “As a coun­try, as a com­mu­nity, Nova Sco­tia has one of the strong­est rep­u­ta­tions for folk art.”

This year marks the 30th an­niver­sary of a fes­ti­val that will see some 50 folk artists de­scend upon Lunen­burg from Yar­mouth to Cape Bre­ton. They prac­tice their art by cre­at­ing with ba­sic ob­jects like wood or metal.

“The tal­ent of these peo­ple is that they take what they see and what they find and turn it into some­thing unique,” said Kelly, not­ing that this year’s event will fea­ture three new artists.

It is a tal­ent, noted Kelly, routed in the Nova Sco­tian psy­che.

“Lunen­burg County, I think, has a par­tic­u­lar rep­u­ta­tion for folk artists.”

The fes­ti­val, which will take up res­i­dence at Lunen­burg’s War Memo­rial Arena on Aug. 5, has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of folk art en­thu­si­asts and col­lec­tors across North Amer­ica.

Kelly cred­its the in­ge­nu­ity of the artists, not­ing that each piece is one-of-a-kind, but also gave a wink to Maudie, the bi­o­graph­i­cal film about Nova Sco­tia’s own Maud Lewis. The film won a num­ber of awards, in­clud­ing the Cana­dian Screen Award for Best Mo­tion Pic­ture.

“If any­one had sort of gone to sleep and for­got­ten about folk art and Nova Sco­tia, that movie brought it to the fore,” she said.

Not that any­one had for­got­ten about the fes­ti­val, as or­ga­niz­ers an­tic­i­pate 1,200 to 1,400 peo­ple to at­tend, and roughly 60 vol­un­teers will give their time over the course of the week­end.

Kelly ex­plained, with a hint of ad­mi­ra­tion in her voice, that some col­lec­tors — as they do ev­ery year — will have their route mapped to their favourite artist.

“They’re very de­lib­er­ate about whose booths they’re go­ing to.”

Plan­ning for the event, said Kelly, takes all year but the re­sult is worth­while.

“Ev­ery coun­try has its folk art, but Nova Sco­tia has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of the pub­lic,” she said.

The cost to get into the fe­s­it­val is $5. Pro­ceeds from the fes­ti­val will go to the Lunen­burg Her­itage So­ci­ety. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit the fes­ti­val’s Face­book page at www.face­book.com/ns­folka­rt­fes­ti­val.

Kathy John­son/file

Cape Sable Is­land folk artist Lisa Wick­ens poses with her Canada 150 sig­na­ture piece for the 29th an­nual Nova Sco­tia Folk Art Fes­ti­val in Lunen­burg. Wick­ens will be once again in at­ten­dance at this year’s fes­ti­val on Aug. 5. at Lunen­burg’s War Memo­rial Arena.

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