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O, but had I followed the arts!" Shakespeare

Remembering Molly Lamb BobakPhoto Germaine Pataki-Theriault, coutesy Gallery 78

Canadian art icon Molly Lamb Bobak died Saturday in Fredericton. She was 94.   The last surviving Canadian war artist of the Second World War and the first woman appointed to that role, she was one of this country’s first successful female artists whose work was collected by the likes of the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian War Museum.


Her loss represents the end of an era, writes Chris Morris in Monday’s Telegraph-Journal. Bernard Riordon, director emeritus of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, described her as a bellwether, “a passionate leader in encouraging others to appreciate and enjoy the arts and in making the arts more central to our daily lives.


“New Brunswick will be a less colourful place without Molly,” he said.  


Molly Lamb was born in 1920 on Lulu Island, B.C., and grew up in a rich artistic milieu: family friends included members of the Group of Seven and Molly studied with Jack Shadbolt at the Vancouver School of Art.

She met her husband, the late Bruno Bobak, also a Canadian war artist, in London, where the pair shared a studio with Alex Colville. From 1960, the pair mostly lived in Fredericton, where they became key figures in the city’s arts community.    

Molly Bobak received numerous honours, including the Order of Canada, in 1995, and the Order of New Brunswick, in 2002. When interviewed about the latter, she was asked, “What is your greatest joy?”

“People,” she responded.


There will be no funeral or public memorial service for Molly Lamb Bobak, Chris Morris writes, as she felt she was celebrated extensively in her lifetime.The Beaverbrook Art Gallery invites the public to view a sampling of her work from the permanent collection. Read her obituary here. To read more, visit the CBC  and The Globe and Mail.

Photo by Germaine Pataki-Thériault courtesy Gallery 78;

Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas delivers the 2013 Speech from the Throne Nov. 5, in the New Brunswick Legislature. ArtsLink NB responds to the 2013 Speech from the Throne

On behalf of the Board of Directors of ArtsLink NB, I would like to commend Premier David Alward and the Government of New Brunswick for confirming in the 2013 Speech from the Throne their intention to establish a Premier’s Task Force on the Status of the Artist.


We acknowledge the longstanding efforts of our francophone colleagues at the Association acadienne des artistes professionel.le.s du Nouveau-Brunswick to bring the issue to the attention of government, most recently through their June, 2013, Forum on the Professional Status of the Artist. ArtsLink NB participated in the Forum, along with a number of anglophone and First Nations artists and culture workers.


The importance of the professional arts and culture community of New Brunswick was further highlighted in a report commissioned by Arts Link NB, prepared by economic development expert David Campbell, and presented at the ArtsLink Annual General Meeting in September 2013. In his “Sustaining New Brunswick’s Arts and Cultural Workforce”, Mr. Campbell underscores the actual and potential value of this community to our province, through its economic contribution as well as its role in enhancing our quality of life.


As the Speech from the Throne clearly states, “The people of New Brunswick are its greatest asset. We are a strong, creative and detemined society.” We agree. The arts and culture sector of our province punches well above its weight, and its achievements are many, as the Speech from the Throne points out. Our artists have earned many provincial distinctions and are recognized on the national level, and provide ample evidence that a small province can continue to nurture significant talent and accomplishment. We salute the achievers of today, and honour a distinguished past.


A large number of our artists and culture workers are professionals. They have had many years of training, and many have long experience of artistic practice. Our arts and culture sector comprises more than 7000 artists, and contributes nearly $1 billion a year to the provincial economy, directly and indirectly. And their contribution to our quality of life is priceless.


We are happy to note the recognition of the value of the arts and culture sector in New Brunswick, and are confident that this Task Force will prove to be an effective forum for developing new measures to support and enhance the working conditions of artists, and thus the cultural life of our province.

Dr. Kathryn Hamer, President, ArtsLink NB     


 Photo Credit: GNB

Thanks to all who attended the ArtsLink NB 2013 Forum/AGM, Sept. 20-21, Fredericton

The third annual ArtsLink NB Forum was a great success, offering two days of ideas, inspiration, networking and professional development to artists and cultural workers from all disciplines, and all corners of the province.

Thanks to all who attended, and to everyone who participated as part of the program, or as a volunteer. For those who couldn’t make it, check the ArtsLink NB Facebook site soon for photos. Please feel free to share your own images there, as well.

The program for the weekend flowed naturally from ’Sustaining New Brunswick’s Arts and Cultural Workforce,’ the first major research project ArtsLink NB has embarked upon, and which it commissioned last year. Author David Campbell’s presentation Saturday was a highlight of the weekend. To see his presentation, including the most recent stats and figures, click here. To read key findings and recommendations, click here.

For all appendices, which contain rich statistical and research data, click here.





Culture Days launch Saturday, 1-3 p.m., Kings Landing

The countdown is on to Culture Days 2013, a Canada-wide celebration of arts and culture! Municipalities, community centres, art galleries, museums, artists, cultural organizations, Botanical Gardens, groups and individuals across New Brunswick are registering their activities on

The New Brunswick Culture Days Committee will hold a Celebration Launch on Saturday, Aug. 17, 1-3 p.m. at Kings Landing Historical Settlement in order to build up the momentum towards Culture Days. The event promises to be a fun day with a picnic setting and performances by local artists. Interested arts and culture organizations as well as the general public are invited to attend to learn more about Culture Days and how they can get involved.

The launch will take place outside the Visitor’s Centre. Attendees are encouraged to visit the historical village and make the day a special outing with their friends and families. Information, entrance fees, maps and directions for Kings Landing Historical Village can be found here: 

Wondering What Kind of Event You Can Organize to Celebrate Culture Days?

The website is where activity organizers can register their activities and everyone can see what is happening around the Province and across Canada to plan their Culture Days weekend. 





Photo courtesy UNB Media Services

Remembering Andy Scott, a champion of New Brunswick arts

Andy Scott was a statesman and community builder whose many accomplishments included playing a key role in the formation of ArtsLink NB.


The former federal cabinet minister and Fredericton MP died Monday, of cancer.

He was 58.


Mr. Scott’s resume of political accomplishments runs long, including having served as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and playing a central role in striking the Kelowna Accord. Perhaps less well known, but just as valued, is his commitment to arts and culture in New Brunswick.


“He committed himself to this as he did to so many areas of public life,” says Dr. Kathryn Hamer, president of the board of directors of ArtsLink NB.


Mr. Scott was a vigorous supporter of ArtsLink NB from the beginning – even before, in fact - pushing for the formation of a provincial, multidisciplinary arts organization long before its formal founding, in 2009.


Dr. Hamer remembers Mr. Scott as an integral and dynamic figure in the organization’s early days.


“He was really a driving force in getting it started, in responding to a need,” she said. Mr. Scott was a founding member of the board of directors, and he was a very active member in this role, guiding strategy and planning for the fledgling organization, and advocating for its role.


It is due, in no small part, to his commitments that the organization has been able to grow to some 600 members.  


Dr. Hamer praised Mr. Scott’s dedication to public life, and the many ways he worked to improve his community, his province, and his country.


“He was never doing it just for Andy,” she said. “It was always for the greater good.”


Tony Merzetti of the NB Filmmakers’ Co-Op wrote a beautiful tribute to Andy Scott. Click here to read.


© Photo Courtesy UNB Media Services.

Status of the Artist Conference, May 31-June 2, Shippigan-Lamèque

Congratulations to our colleagues at L’Association acadienne des artistes professionnel.le.s du Nouveau-Brunswick (L’AAAPNB) for the groundbreaking forum they hosted recently on the Status of the Artist. Judging from the turnout of more than 150 artists, administrators, and other members of the culture sector, it is an issue of great concern to many. The weekend featured presentations on policies and legislation that might give artists - most of whom are self-employed or small-business owners - more integration, stability, and protection. Some of the issues explored included employment insurance, health plans, parental leave and pension plans, as well as training and career development opportunities.

Kate Wallace, executive director of ArtsLink NB, was in attendance, along with Dr. Kathryn Hamer, president of the board of directors. Sandy McKay, a musician and ArtsLink NB’s founding executive director, as well as several ArtsLink member artists also made the trip to the Acadian Peninsula for this important forum.

"We are not alone in our struggle," Louise Lemieux, past president of L’AAAPNB, wrote in her message in the conference program. "Thanks to the cooperation of the Acadian, Anglophone, and First Nations communities and the New Brunswick government, we will succeed in giving our profession not a special status, above other occupations, but a legitimate one, a profession on the same level as others, so that artists can better contribute and participate in the life of the communities where they work, and can enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other workers."

We agree.


For anyone who wasn’t able to make it, here are the key presentations from the forum:


Greetings from ArtsLink NB’s new executive director

Dear ArtsLink NB members,  

I cannot tell you how excited I am to work for you, the artists of New Brunswick.

Over the last 10 years of my career as a journalist, I have had the honour to interview and write about many of you, first at here weekly, when it was an upstart independent, and later at the Telegraph-Journal, where, as provincial arts reporter, I wrote everything from briefs to feature-length profiles about artists.  

My reporting took me into corners of the province I could not previously have located on a map, and those meetings with the painters and poets and playwrights and dancers and other creators have given me a first-person education in art, and the culture – make that cultures – of our beautiful, complicated little corner of the world.  

Of course, it was not all studio visits.

Many a day was spent in government offices, at press conferences and in phone interviews with experts and administrators near and far, who revealed to me the vast infrastructure in place to nurture the arts.

I bring to ArtsLink NB this immersive, hands-on experience of art in New Brunswick, as well as a deep personal affinity for it.

When I moved back to the Maritimes from Montreal in my early 20s, the burgeoning contemporary arts scene in Saint John revolutionized my sense of my hometown, which I had generally viewed with a disparaging eye.

Slowly, I began to understand what art is, and what it can do.

Art is a noun, but it should be a verb. More than object or entity, it is a way of acting, thinking and responding to the world. Art is a way of being, and a way of seeing. It is not so much product but process, one that continues in galleries and on stages and screens and in the public eye, where the conversation expands.

Artists report back from the depths and the margins with creative responses to the ideas and issues they encounter. It is a cliché to say that art helps us to better appreciate the human condition – and it is true.

It is a big job. Making art is important work.

It is also one of the most vital yet least understood sectors in New Brunswick. I admire the verve and talent of you, who use art to express your sense of the world, and your tenacity in pursuing such a course, because it is not an easy one.

As I assume my new position, I am not naïve to the challenges facing artists in this province. Indeed, I have written about many of them myself.

It is tough times in New Brunswick. In this period of fiscal restraint, art and artists are more important than ever. You remind us that we are much more than taxpayers or cogs in an economic machine, and that there are many ways of approaching a problem. You are used to working creatively, often on limited means.

ArtsLink NB was founded in 2009 to do for artists what they cannot do alone. The organization has focused thus far on recruiting members and solidifying its position. In this next chapter, I want to make it more active in the lives of artists. I welcome your ideas and involvement in this campaign.


Kate Wallace 


The SHMF is pleased announce its support for the upcoming June visual art conference “East of There” being hosted by the New Brunswick Museum between June 20 and 23rd. Each year, the foundation selects unique projects that will enhance the New Brunswick visual arts ecosystem. In 2013 we are proud to work in partnership to

Calling all Anglophone Professional Artists: 

Re: Invitation to a Forum on the Professional Status of Artists
Artists and Friends of the Arts,
The artist’s profession is not very well recognized or well supported in New Brunswick. In order to deal with some of the challenges artists face and to set the stage for the work of the Premier’s Committee on the Status of the Artist, due to begin in August 2013, the Association acadienne des artistes professionnel.le.s du Nouveau Brunswick (AAAPNB) is organizing a Forum on the Professional Status of Artists
in conjunction with its Annual General Meeting. The Forum will be held on May 31, June 1 and 2, 2013 in Shippagan and Lamèque.
The Forum will be a major gathering where artists from every cultural group in New Brunswick (Acadian, Anglophone, First Nations and other groups) will be able to discuss the challenges they face related to recognition for their profession and their work. Participants will also have a chance to learn about legislation and programs which have been introduced around the world to improve the working conditions of artists. Presentations and discussions will be interspersed with performances and arts events. The Forum will feature well known artists, including Mr. Claude Robinson, a creator and activist who is deeply involved in the struggle for artists’ rights. This gathering will offer professional artists from every area of the province an exceptional opportunity to get to know each other and network. No other event since 1987 has provided artists with this kind of large scale occasion to meet and discuss with each other.  We have included a registration form and the tentative program of the Forum. Please fill out the registration form and return it to us by May 10, 2013 so that we can arrange meals and
accommodation for the participants.
The AAAPNB is pleased to be able to cover expenses for any artist who participates in the Forum.  As well as free registration, this includes travel costs, hotel rooms and meals.  This Forum will undoubtedly be an important step towards having your profession valued and
supported in New Brunswick. We hope you will attend, and look forward to meeting you for thefirst time or seeing you again in Shippagan and Lamèque!


To find the registration form, itinerary and more information, go to the website HERE




Roundtable on Cultural Human Resources: A Successful First Meeting!

As do all workers, artists and cultural workers need not only education and training to begin their careers, but also continuing education and the opportunity to further their knowledge and increase their skills throughout their lives. In every profession or trade, new techniques and technology, modifications to laws and increased responsibilities require workers to acquire new competencies on an ongoing basis. To respond to these needs, the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture mandated the Association acadienne des artistes professionnel.le.s du Nouveau-Brunswick (the Acadian association of professional artists) to lead a consultation process with stakeholders and to propose an action plan.

On February 7 and 8, nearly forty people working in the cultural and educational sector―artists, cultural workers, arts administrators, representatives of cultural organizations and educational institutions in New Brunswick’s English-speaking, Acadian and First Nations communities―met in Saint John, NB for the first session of the New Brunswick Roundtable on Cultural Human Resources. Participants had a chance to learn about the process the Roundtable has set out and their roles in it. They made a commitment to support, contribute to and collaborate in the project until March 31, 2014.

Between now and March 2014, the Roundtable will be gathering participants together on three more occasions. Each meeting will mark an important step towards the goal of developing a strategy on cultural human resources in New Brunswick. The strategy will integrate recommendations resulting from the Roundtable sessions and an inventory of existing resources in the sector. It will also outline an action plan to establish a new structure dedicated to cultural human resources in the province.







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