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APL's 'Voice and Vision' project celebrates collaborative success with gala

Artists and writers put their heads together again this year for the Airdrie Public Library’s "Voice and Vision" project.
The Airdrie Public Library held its annual Voice and Vision project gala on Sept. 23. The event showcased collaboration between local writers and visual artists.

Artists and writers put their heads together again this year for the Airdrie Public Library’s "Voice and Vision" project. 

The collaborative program where writers and artists come together to create written and visual pieces inspired by each other's work has been ongoing since 2016.

Artists and writers presented their original piece, alongside the response pieces at the show opening on Sept. 23, hosted in tandem with Alberta Culture Days.

“We have the art on easels at the exhibit, there's refreshments and hopefully live music this year,” said collaboration project organizer and artist liaison Deb Lawton, head of the event.

The works will later be published in a book, as has been the case for the past eight years.

Writers and artists submitted their works separately in the spring, and were then paired up anonymously.

Artist Karin Edwards, painted a portrait of her niece using acrylic this year.

“I had an absolute blast painting the piece, and submitted it to the voice and vision this year,” said Edwards. “It’ll be up on display in the library come October.”

Her voice partner, Sheila Humphrey, wrote the tale of a fish and several other characters including a dog and a cat. After putting some thought into it, Edwards wanted to capture these three animals and their enthusiasm, as is portrayed in the story.

With the fish as the star of the show, she painted each animal with a circle around or near them to represent the worlds they live in, with a line connecting all three, she explained.

“It's always an exciting process because you take the words that the writer wrote and you just, as an artist, have the freedom to be able to… come up with something visual using their words,” she said.

Edwards’ reaction to hearing her partner's response to her artwork was one of gratitude. 

“You get to see a little bit deeper into somebody, and how they think, and how they feel and how they operate when they write a piece,” Edwards said.

After three years of participating in the program, Edwards said it has been fun to see her growth as an artist every year.

“You learn something a little bit new about the process, about yourself, and about creating,” she said.

During the show’s opening, they each revealed their response pieces followed by the original pieces.

Artists and writers had about four minutes to get through all their work. With 14 artists and 14 writers, that’s 56 pieces of art to get through in one night – 28 written pieces and 28 visual works.

“Fourteen is pretty much our maximum but we do have people on the waitlist to join our group for next season,” Lawton said. “To do any more than 14 makes for a long evening and a large book.”

The submissions are on display for two months at the library following the show opening.

Currently, the writer’s group meets every Wednesday at the library, while the artist group meets every fourth Wednesday of the month, Lawton added.

This year, the group has two new writers and three new artists in the mix. While there are some participants who have been part of the program on and off for the past eight years, Lawton noted they like to add at least a couple of new people to the group each year.

Anyone interested in joining the program can reach out to the Airdrie Public Library, who can then put them in touch with the program organizers.


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