Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Baggage Building Arts Centre in Prince Arthur’s Landing

The Friends of the Grain Elevators have set up an historical exhibit at the Baggage Building Arts Centre in Prince Arthur’s Landing to tell the story of the grain industry in Canada with an emphasis on railways and the incredible amount of activity in our harbours since 1883 when the railways opened up the west. Thunder Bay was integral in developing the country. We had the the biggest grain port in the world for many years and gave primary aid to feed Europe after two world wars. With over twelve elevators, eight continue to operate, the reason for over five hundred ships passing through our harbours in 2016. 
      Part of the exhibit features a map of the world and twelve glass jars, each containing a different type of grain. Indicators tell the viewer where the grain was distributed throughout the world. All of this information lovingly provided by Rob Paterson while he and other members set up the exhibit. 
     As an analogy we could say that our local artists have been seeding the world with bits of our culture for many years. In operation for five years, a tourist destination is the The Gift Gallery which hosts sixty-five local artists producing paintings, prints, photography, various crafts, pottery, jewelry, candles, stained glass, Ahnisnabae arts of all stripes, locally produced books, CDs, and sundry edible items. 
     Located on the second floor of the arts centre the gift shop is what was once the old Canadian Pacific freight office, an historical site often incorrectly referred to as the Baggage Building, complete with its old tin ceiling. As a commercial and public venture in a city facility it operates as a collective of organizations; All the Days Theatre, the Community Arts and Heritage Program, the Posers Drawing Group, Waterfront Potters, Waterfront Printmaking Group, Connect the Dots: Roots and Branches, and Tango North. 
     Tango nights are Wednesdays and the drop in drawing sessions are Tuesdays at 7pm. Please call the Gift Shop or Facebook page for details. Exhibitions are featured in the mezzanine and main floor with beautiful tall windows and lovely wood framing.
     Upon completion of a beginners class in pottery you can take advantage of the open studio to work on your own. The setup includes mechanical wheels, two kick wheels, a slab roller, kiln, with clay and glazes made available. 
     From February 24th to March 25 the third annual Fibre Arts Exhibition is showcasing a selection of works from members from the Spinners and Weavers Guild and other local artists. You will see over sixty works by just over twenty artists, including works of crochet, needlepoint and felting. Birds of the Bay is part of the exhibition. Organized by Betty Carpick this is a community-engaged art project consisting of fibre arts sculpture to encourage people to understand and protect nature.
     Writers and videographers from Canadian Geographic have visited Prince Arthur’s Landing recently to research the history of the area for a potential upcoming extensive article and video. With ongoing construction and ventures both commercial and artistic we can safely assume that the waterfront will yield attractions for the city for many decades to come.

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