During this difficult public health crisis the MAG Executive is sending this message to assure you that now more than ever the Arts are an essential and important part of our lives. This is especially true for small villages such as Merrickville-Wolford and neighbouring communities. The Guild was created over 30 years ago and has steadily broadened its repertoire to include painting, sculpture, glass art, wood and iron craft, jewelry, pottery and ceramics, photography, book binding and printing, fibre art, quilting, writing and poetry. We are blessed with an incredible diversity of creative energy and talent that has nourished and helped sustain our community through good and bad times.

We know that many of the artists and local businesses here and in surrounding areas are suffering economically as a result of the measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We had hoped to have a number of events in 2020 that would have promoted the arts, attracted visitors and facilitated the sale of the labour of our talented artists. Sadly, some events have been cancelled such as the Pieter Doef Retrospective, Art, Jazz & The Garden and the May and June Conversations. We will continue to monitor the situation and decide soon if we should go forward with the planned Art Fair (August 9th) and the Annual Studio Tour (September 26th and 27th). Of course, it is public health authorities and the artists themselves who will determine if these events can and should take place and we will reach out to artists soon to get their perspective.

The following links might be helpful to artists who are seeking financial assistance:

canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html

canadacouncil.ca/covid-19-information

cbc.ca/arts/here-s-where-canadian-artists-and-freelancers-can-find-help-during-covid-19-shutdowns-1.5503360

cp24.com/entertainment-news/trudeau-commits-500-million-to-arts-culture-and-sports-sectors-affected-by-covid-19-1.4901054

The MAG Executive has already held one meeting to discuss the situation and to identify ways to help our artists (please see attached minutes of our latest meeting). We are exploring using modern technology (Zoom, etc) to have virtual presentations for events such as Conversations. We will continue to explore the development of a year-round brochure/booklet showcasing local artists, key events and related art & culture activities. We are also examining greater use of our MAG website and social media platforms such as Facebook to create a virtual “Marketplace” for those artists who wish to advertise the sale of their works. For those who have already purchased MAG memberships, they will be extended to include 2021.

We would really like to hear from MAG artists and others about how they are being impacted and what we can do help. Please feel free to contact me directly at nprevisich@bell.net to discuss further or by phone at 613 355-3488.

On behalf of the Executive and MAG artists, I would like to express our deep appreciation for your past and current support to the Guild and to the Arts in general. To borrow a phrase recently coined by the Merrickville and District Chamber of Commerce:

“Merrickville-Wolford
227 Years of Perseverance
Stronger Together”

Sincere best wishes,

Nick Previsich
President, Merrickville
Artists’ Guild