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Centre hopes Artisans on Lawn will get bums in the building

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Cathy Dobson

Is it possible that a big chunk of our community still hasn’t set foot in The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts?

It’s been years since the stately home at the corner of Christina and Wellington was converted into a volunteer-driven cultural hub for everyone.

Karen Schaw

Yet those who run the Lawrence House have concerns the look of the imposing art centre intimidates some.

“I often speak to people who say they walk by and never come in,” said board member and artist Karen Schaw.

“We work very hard to make the Lawrence House someplace special but there are still people in our community who aren’t familiar with it.”

Anyone can walk in free-of-charge Wednesday to Sunday and have a look at the latest art show, enjoy a house concert, participate in an open stage event, take a class or check out the gift shop.

But the volunteers want more foot traffic.

To that end, they’re planning the first Artisans on the Lawn event on the Friday and Saturday of the August long weekend.

At least 10 artisans will be selling their wares in tents set up on the front lawn.

Everything will be one-of-a-kind, said Schaw.

“This is for artisans who don’t go out to the big fairs. We’ll be sharing tents and keeping the cost down.”

Space at Artisans on the Lawn is still available for $25 per person. Vendors are also required to purchase a $20 Lawrence House membership.

“It will be like our own small art walk,” said Schaw. “We thought we’d try it on a First Friday with a long weekend and start small.”  If it’s a success, Artisans on the Lawn could become an annual fixture.

Local musicians Sherry Abram and Mike Blackmore are scheduled to play at the Lawrence House during First Friday festivities on Friday, Aug. 3 and Harmony for Youth are staffing a food booth.

Artisans on the Lawn continues Saturday, Aug. 4, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Also opening that night is a new art show of member works for the month of August called Summer, Summer.

Lawrence House volunteers are a busy bunch. It takes a lot of commitment to keep the gift shop staffed, mount a new show each month and oversee all the special events. Yet they are willing to add another event in the middle of summer when many are away on vacation.

That’s because three summer students have been hired with government grants this year. One university student and two high school students are helping with everything from bookkeeping to marketing.

“With the extra help, we thought we could handle an extra event,” said Schaw.

The group also took on a new responsibility in June involving the R. W. Lawton Gallery at 168 Christina St., behind the Imperial Theatre’s box office.

Large at the Lawton is a new project that features very large paintings by local artists that will be changed up regularly.

These are statement paintings for big feature walls, said Schaw, who has one hanging in the R.W. Lawton Gallery this summer, along with the work of other prominent Sarnians including Lynne Kenneith Brogden, Rachael Groombridge, Deborah Scragg, Patti Cook and Peg Kiwi.

If you can’t make it to the gallery, Large at the Lawton is available for viewing online at http://lawrencehouse.ca/r-w-lawton-gallery.html.

The Arts Journal features our cultural community. Send your ideas to [email protected].


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