Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 17, 2024
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Collaborative Creation

First edition of the County Arts Mentorship Program a resounding success
<p>(From left) Local poet Heather Lindsay was mentored by JC Sulzenko through the County Arts Mentorship Program. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
(From left) Local poet Heather Lindsay was mentored by JC Sulzenko through the County Arts Mentorship Program. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Participating artists from a variety of disciplines, including painting, poetry, furniture-making, ceramics, writing, and dance, mentored and collaborated with aspiring artists in a unique program funded by the Government of Ontario through Seniors’ Community Grants. 

The majority of participants were over 55, and both mentors and mentees received compensation. 

Over two dozen people spoke of their experiences and displayed their creations in the County Arts space at the Armoury last week. A panel discussion and exhibition gave a glimpse into the mentorship activities, the challenges and successes. Samples of work mentees explored and completed during 25 hours of mentorship activities over the past four months were on display.

“We are proud to support this wonderful mentorship program that provides valuable opportunities for artists of all ages and disciplines in a rural community setting to connect, share knowledge and inspire each other,” said Raymond Cho, Ontario’s Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. 

“This initiative will not only impact older adults in the County, but will help strengthen community connections, help reduce social isolation and provide positive, long-term benefits to Prince Edward County’s arts community.”

County Arts Programs Manager Stacey Sproule noted mentorship is particularly important in a rural community where opportunities to meet and connect with those working in the arts are few and far between, and artists tend to work in isolation. 

Many expressed a renewed energy and excitement about their work and their path as artists. Mentors reflected that the experience helped them see their own work and practice in a new light.

“We hope this program helps encourage artists in Prince Edward County and beyond to reflect on the ways they can share knowledge and support each other in their career journeys. We are so grateful to everyone who has participated, and to the Government of Ontario for their generous support,” she said.

Actor and program mentor Joan McBride said it was a particular pleasure to mentor a young aspiring actor whose talent, passion and enthusiasm rekindled the joy she had experienced as an acting instructor many years ago.

“I was reminded of what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to nurture and encourage our next generation of storytellers. I also very much enjoyed being part of a larger group of mentors/mentees from a wide range of artistic disciplines: the opportunity to share our thoughts, our stories and some of what we do as artists within our chosen fields was very rewarding.”

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 14 edition of The Picton Gazette
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