The Town of Blackfalds has a few residents seeking to make the space a little more artsy with a community arts group, spearheaded by a resident named Becca Stone.
Stone had been an active member of a community art group in her hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland – Craigmillar Arts. The group was settled in a local arts centre where the members had access to music workshops, drawing and arts workshops, writing spaces and theatre performance.
“I started off with a writers group, because I used to like writing poetry, and then I progressed into attending the music workshop because I love to sing. I got involved with a couple of the drama productions that we’d do each year. I just loved being an active member of a community arts group, and meeting people. It was a good way to express myself creatively and it was a good outlet,” Stone said.
Recently a meeting was held at After the Grind coffee shop to gauge the interest of community members. Stone said that it was a small but great start because she got to know some of the people interested in the project.
“It went well, we got to know one another, and got to know what kind of arts everybody was interested in. We kind of bounced ideas back and forth about different meetings and what we could do each meeting, possible venues to look for in the future,” she said.
“Ideally, because of my background and what I experienced at home, I would love to have an actual proper registered organization and a proper arts centre. Say for example, Monday night would be the art workshop and Wednesday night could be a music workshop.”
Stone has lived in Canada for 12 and one-half years with her husband, whom she met through the Craigmillar Arts. She said that her goal with the group is to re-create as similar an experience in Blackfalds as she can to the experience she had in her previous arts group.
The arts group that Stone was a part of was extremely diverse. They would produce theatre productions, explore different painting and drawing mediums, write together and attempt a wide variety of artistic activities. She said it was great for bringing people in as a part of a community.
“Edinburgh fringe festival is one of the biggest in the world. When Edinburgh City would have their festival, our local Craigmillar community would put on a mini-festival. It was a great way for people to get experience in the arts, and if they liked performing, that was great because people would put on little shows, or display their art, or do little poetry readings. We’d do little gallery events and things too. It really brought our community together doing that,” she said.One thing that the group did that was especially impactful in the community was to, through funding, purchase some ‘community instruments’ that people who couldn’t usually afford an instrument could play. These allowed members of a poverty-stricken area of Scotland to still enjoy music and to learn where their passions were.
“There were people of all different ages and all different abilities. You’d see someone playing something and say, ‘Oh, could you show me how to do that? I’d like to try that.’ And it was just great because it allowed people to find where their interests lie,” Stone said.
Stone and her husband have resided in Blackfalds for over a decade. She said that recently, she had noticed the many new facilities being added to the Town and realized that there was nothing being put forth dedicated to arts, performance and musicians.
The Stone family members are all artistic and enjoy doing crafts, so Becca figured that there must be other families in the area with the same or similar interests. She said this community arts group is going to have a wide range of interests, from decorating, to musical instruments, to poetry, drawing and painting to acting, so that each member may be able to find something that they enjoy.
So far the group has created a facebook page where members can share ideas, receive feedback and engage each other to come up with ideas of how the community arts group would take shape. So far, there are no set meet times or scheduled events, as the group is still in the planning stages.
So far, the page has a number of polls and posts that are aimed at helping narrow down dates and times that are appropriate for the users. In a very short time, the facebook group has grown to 66 members who have come together to try and bring more art to Blackfalds.
“My husband and I love music and my kids all love music. We’re big on arts and crafts. I grew up with that, and I do that with my kids now and I thought that there had to be more people around here that are interested in that.”
Details are available on the ‘Blackfalds Community Arts’ facebook page.