Owner hopes store will be a hub of activity
New Argyle Street craft supply shop offers hard-to-find items, original art and a venue for workshops
Kristi Dobson, For The TimesPublished: Friday, August 10, 2012
Hunt recently relocated to Port Alberni from the Fraser Valley, where she lived for the past 25 years. She was highly involved in creative fields including desktop publishing, writing and the theatre. She recently published a book chronicling the lives of missing women and children in British Columbia and has books of poetry in print. For 14 years, Hunt had produced the community's Fringe Festival as well as about 15 productions that travelled around the province.
Putting these skills to use to help others is what drives Hunt's passion for the arts, which she does as the artistic director of the Arts Matters Society. The organization fosters and encourages the arts, and by doing so, raises funds to benefit local non-profit organizations, mainly those which assist with violence against women.
When Hunt visited Port Alberni last fall, she learned of the Rotary Arts District and realized she could bring her idea of the Main Artery into fruition.
The cosy, high-ceiling space near the corner of Third and Argyle was available and provides the perfect surrounding for her plans. Hunt's vision is to provide workshops in creative freelance writing, art play for children, scrapbooking, art therapy and others complimenting the seasons.
"I did Spirit to Heal workshops in Mission for women going through abuse, divorce, death or other tragedies and there is something very healing about working on creative art projects together," Hunt said. "It allows women to talk and open up. I hope to do those here in the future too."
For those workshops, Hunt introduced participants to the art of wax dolls and altered books. She said she saw a similar ability for self-expression to shine through while working with senior citizens on storytelling and those with brain injuries taking part in improv theatre and poetry readings. As such, she has set up a stage area to provide the local performing arts community with an outlet for their talents and plans to hold regular evening performances.
Already a member of Portal Players Dramatic Society, Hunt has met many local performers but knows there are many more creative artists that may be looking for space to sell their work.
Along with paintings, photography, music, intricate polymer clay bracelets and other jewelry, she welcomes consignments from other artists. She stands by her view that art is best nonjuried and is open to a variety of mediums.
"Art comes in so many forms," she said. "It is such an amazing way to express yourself and it can be so healing, so I don't believe we can judge others' work."
On the retail front, Hunt strives to provide items that have not been available in town, including specific paints and brushes, soap and soap making supplies, wax and beads. She looks forward to meeting even more new people, as her first impression of the city was its friendly atmosphere.
The grand opening of Main Artery takes place on Saturday, Aug. 18 with a drop-in scrapbook session at 1 p.m. and two radio plays taking place at 8 p.m. Drop by 4969 Argyle Street to see what the store has to offer.