As a lead-up to the Mayor’s Spotlight on the Arts on September 26th, five young Canmore writers have interviewed and written articles about the artists being recognized this year. Their articles will be featured here at HighlineOnline.ca over the next few weeks. Local writer, Heather Walter, is serving as mentor for the project.
Priscilla Janes—Community Builder
By: Selina Martineau
The arts are more than an individual’s expression of creativity; it takes a group of people to create an arts community. This is certainly the belief held by local artist, Priscilla Janes.
Priscilla has been part of Canmore’s arts community for nearly 15 years, and has made contributions to many local events and organizations. “It takes a community to build the arts,” says Priscilla, “and I am only a part of the community.” She works very hard to make the arts accessible to everyone in town, not just to professional artists. She believes that enriching Canmore’s arts community creates more opportunities for everyone to learn skills and share knowledge.
Priscilla began her community work in Canmore with the Canmore Artists and Artisans Guild (CAAG) and eventually spread her efforts to many other organizations. She has made many contributions to Canmore’s artsPeak festival, as part of the Visual Arts Committee, and as manager and organizer of artsFair. She has played a vital role in the Off the Wall exhibition, which is geared towards featuring three-dimensional works. Priscilla is also past president of the Mountain Arts Foundation, and a leading contributor and organizer in the creation of Canmore’s new arts centre, artsPlace.
As well as being active in the community, Priscilla is also a practicing artist and teacher. She works in ceramics, creating pieces that are both practical and visually appealing. In her artist statement she explains her process: “My work is hand built and wheel thrown, both decorative and functional.” She gains much of her inspiration from the natural world. For example, she uses organic patterns that look like plant life, or other wonders found in the landscape around her Canmore home.
Priscilla has worked in many different artistic media, but she became dedicated to pottery after university. She began with printmaking, but after taking a ceramics class she decided to pursue that instead. She was drawn to the opportunity that ceramics gave her to use her hands, and to create practical, three-dimensional work. “Clay is something that everyone can work with, it’s not an intimidating medium. With clay, you can build from nothing into something.”
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For Priscilla, the arts belong to the whole community. “I think everybody has a creative side to them, and with encouragement, it comes out,” she explains. Her personality is geared towards sharing her passion for art and helping cultivate creativity in others. She has a degree in art education, which has led her to teach students of all ages. Currently, she is mentoring a high school student. “The first thing about teaching is that you learn as much as you teach,” she says. “It’s inspirational to see how people work out problems through art.”
Priscilla seems eager to continue contributing to the community. With the new arts centre in progress, she hopes that everyone will soon have more opportunities to explore artistic work and develop their own knowledge and skill. She explains, “This is a very creative community, and I think we need to share it.” Many of Canmore’s artists work independently, and Priscilla wants to provide everyone in the arts community with more opportunities to work together and spread their love of art.
Priscilla is a gem in Canmore’s arts community. She has a passion for her art, and is always looking to encourage creativity in others. With all of her contributions to the arts, she brings talent and a generous personality. Canmore is certainly lucky to have such a dedicated individual make this town her home.
Selina is a grade 11 student at Canmore Collegiate High School. She has a passion for writing, art, and music. She is always looking forward to the next challenge.
The Mayor’s Spotlight on the Arts will take place at the Canmore Miners’ Union Hall on Friday September 26, 5:30 pm. Tickets are $20 through the Arts and Culture department at Canmore Civic Centre, 403.678.1546. Join us for an evening of wine, appetizers and a celebration of the arts in Canmore.