College transmutes in-house inspiration into artistic gold

A photo taken by Katie Tremblay, left, took the President’s Choice Award at Lambton College’s Artistic Alchemy exhibtion, which opened at the Lawrence House gala on Nov. 6. With Tremblay is College President Judith Morris. Glenn Ogilvie

Cathy Dobson

Lois Nantais gets animated when she talks about art, particularly the new Lambton College exhibit she’s co-ordinating at the Lawrence House.

“I absolutely took a risk and I’m really proud of how it turned out,” says Nantais, a writer and poet who teaches at Lambton.

“Art is ever-present at the college. It’s what faculty and students do to relieve stress and for recreation.

“This exhibit is truly artistic alchemy. We put it together to see what would happen.”

The exhibit, called Artistic Alchemy, opened with a splash at the restored mansion/arts centre with a black tie gala Nov. 5.  Students, teachers, and other college staff contributed their paintings, writing, pottery and photography, filling almost every room of the Lawrence House until Nov. 28.

The college had never mounted an exhibit before last year, when Nantais, also a board member of the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts, decided there should be one.

The second show attracted artists of high calibre, said Lambton College ceramics instructor Chris Snedden.

He teaches many students who have never created anything before but are taking sculpture or “hand-building” as an elective.

“They might be paramedics or massage therapy students who come to my class to relax and forget about their stress for a short time,” said Snedden.

Those who contributed to the exhibit are proud enough of their work to want to show it, said Nantais.

“The spirit is one of sharing and learning so, if you’re brave enough to bring it down, I will hang it.”

Approximately 20 pieces were created by college employees and are on display in a separate room at the centre. Like the students, many aren’t professional artists or art teachers, but like to be creative.

“There’s a freshness, an innocent about new artists,” said Snedden.

The public is invited to tour the Lawrence House at the corner of Wellington and Christina streets and vote at the reception desk on their favourite piece in the Artistic Alchemy exhibit.

The People’s Choice Award will be announced at the end of November.

If you’d like to pitch an idea for the Arts Journal, contact Cathy at 226-932-0985 or email cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca .