The Rimbey Art Club (RAC) has been active since 1966, but coming into post-COVID times is leaving the club concerned about what the future could look like.
“During COVID, everyone has suffered and we just don’t know where things are going to go,” said Sharon Johnston, president of the RAC. “We’re able to stay alive right now, but we’re hoping to get back up and running.”
The club’s membership dwindled over COVID, from about 30 members down to a dozen.
“We’ll see what the club has now, post-COVID,” Johnston said. “There’s a lot of art clubs around that are folding. For the young people, if they want to learn something they go to YouTube. They don’t see the need to join a club to learn these things.”
The club will be hosting a Welcome Back To The Studio Show and Open House on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1 from noon to 5 p.m. each day. The studio is located within the Peter Lougheed Recreation Centre.
“Not very many small towns can boast they have a studio dedicated to their club and the interests of the community,” said Johnston. “It’s such a beautiful studio.”
The RAC offers members access any time to come and paint or work in the studio, there are also educational resources available, the club hosts workshops and artists can enter their work into the annual art show. There are also programs for young artists. The Art Fusion program for students has been running for about 15 years and there are fall and winter sessions for those interested.
“I’m trying to be positive about this,” Johnston said about the future of the club. “We’ve kept this club alive for over 50 years and it would be nice for the next generation to enjoy it too. But that will be up to them. Maybe it’ll take a direction we aren’t even aware of. I hope the idea to promote and encourage the arts in the community will continue in whatever form that is. I wish I had the vision, but the next generation will probably have a different vision. Maybe it’ll be new and improved.”
For this year’s art show, some club members have created a quilt in honour of Truth & Reconciliation Day. The quilt will be presented at the library on Oct. 1 at 2 p.m., and then it will come back to be on display again at the show.
The open house is free to attend and everyone is welcome. For those interested in joining the club and all it has to offer, the membership fee is $50 for the year.
“We want to know what the need is out there, the interest,” said Johnston. “What is the public willing and wanting to do? We’re wanting to move with the times and we want to know how we can survive after COVID. We want to remain a viable part of the community and contribute in any way we can.”
For the last 20 years, the RAC has been hanging artwork in the Servus Credit Union building. The bank pays the club for the art to be shown and then club uses this money towards its studio lease payment.
“It’s a community that makes an art club,” said Johnston.