CNVAS Mission Statement:
CNVAS is a group of artists in the Central Region of Newfoundland whose mandate is to promote and support local art and artists.
A Profile of the Central Newfoundland Visual Arts Society
Since its beginnings in 1977, CNVAS has expanded in membership and in its mandate. At present the active members list exceeds one hundred people. CNVAS’s presence in the region brings artists and aspirants together and serves to link them to artists and other arts organizations outside of the area. The number of ongoing projects, which serve to enrich and promote the artistic community of the central Newfoundland region, has also grown.
One example is “Project 2000” which began in 1985 with the purchase of the first art work for this collection. The collection is probably the only one if its kind, devoted to the promotion of “Newfoundland and Labrador-born artists and their work”. By the year 2000, well over forty pieces had been purchased which are now on display in the Gwendolyn Cooper Gallery in the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts.
Another art procurement project, the “CNVAS Collection”, commenced in 2000 and it involves purchasing artwork from Newfoundland and Labrador artists who were not necessarily born in the province. This growing collection is also housed in the Gwendolyn Cooper Gallery.
CNVAS sponsors a number of projects for its members and also for the youth in central Newfoundland. For example, at least three visiting artists come to the area and do weekend workshops in a variety of mediums on a yearly basis. As well, a New Members Workshop is sometimes offered, utilizing CNVAS members to instruct in mini workshops.
Each year CNVAS sponsors a Youth Art Competition which promotes the talents of central Newfoundland’s school-aged artists in categories from kindergarten to grade twelve. The winners receive awards (good quality art supplies) for their efforts at a public gathering at the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts and their work is framed and displayed in the gallery for a year.
In 1997, CNVAS partnered with the local Kiwanis Club to create murals in Church Road Park. That project was the catalyst for the Historical Mural Project. During the summer and fall of 1998, CNVAS and Youth Services Canada established a mural project which employed fifteen local youth who researched, developed and designed historical murals. These murals are housed at the YMCA, the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts, and on High Street and Main Street. In the years since, CNVAS and its members have produced numerous murals for public buildings, community groups and for private citizens.
A scholarship fund has been established to help students of the visual arts from the central Newfoundland region further their studies as they continue into a B.FA. program. Assuming that the annual budget will permit, CNVAS offers an entrance and a continuing scholarship. The scholarships are the society’s attempt to encourage students to pursue their artistic goals.
These projects are largely funded by the “CNVAS Craft Fair and Art Auction”, held each year at the end of November. (Note: In 2008 CNVAS partnered with the Exploits Regional Chamber of Commerce and Northcliffe Drama Club to host a much larger craft fair. The CNVAS Silent Auction ran concurrently with the fair. This is now our usual arrangement.) CNVAS members keep 85% of the selling prices of any of their work sold at the silent auction.
In recent years an Art Swap and Social has been held during the winter. All CNVAS members are invited to bring a piece of art work to be ‘swapped’ with another member by the draw that takes place during the party.
Four newsletters and three art exhibitions are also available for CNVAS members as well as the opportunity to participate in two to four annual weekend workshops with visiting artist from around the province to explore new media and techniques. CNVAS encourages and financially supports members who want to hold solo or group shows.
In 2005 CNVAS participated in its Centennial Project for the town. Twenty-seven members took to the challenge of painting a four foot by five inch ‘slice’ of a much larger work which became the second such CNVAS ‘group mural’ (the first one hangs in the lobby of the local hospital). The scene depicts an early view of High Street from the last century. The new mural hangs in the Joe Byrne Stadium. (During 2005 members of CNVAS were also involved in the centennial musical production “Out of the Forest”, painting sets and stage pieces.)
2009 was quite significant for the Society. CNVAS was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council’s Hall of Honour. This recognition was proudly received by the membership (now numbering over 100) as a fitting cause for celebration.
In recent years CNVAS has been a partner with “ArtEx” for its annual weekend event featuring visual artists and arts experiences (visits, workshops, talks, exhibits, fairs, etc.) in the local area. This is a growing event and a relationship CNVAS is hoping to see flourish.
For almost forty years CNVAS has served to encourage local artists of all ages and to foster an appreciation of the visual arts among the larger community in central Newfoundland. Small groups of members gather to work weekly; art classes are conducted all over town on every day of the week; a volunteer group of elected executive members carry on the organizational work of the group… In short, CNVAS sees to it that the visual arts are seen and felt in the center of the province and that central Newfoundland artists are represented to the rest of the province and beyond.