Our exhibiting artists, instructors, students, partners and friends in the community have some wonderful things to say about their experiences at Saint John Arts Centre – our thanks to them for sharing their thoughts:
Hon. James B. Ames, New Brunswick Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture
Thank you very much for your hospitality you and Mr. Boyce extended to my staff and I on our recent visit to the Saint John Arts Centre. The work you and your organization do facilitating arts in the education system and cultural programming with the community is to be commended.
Seeing first-hand artists working in the facility emphasized that the Saint John Arts Centre is innovative in its approach to fostering accessibility of your programming for everyone in the community, including youth.
I wish you all the best in your future endeavours in the community.
David McKay, RCA
“The Saint John Art Centre has a collection of the most unique exhibition spaces ranging from large main rooms on the ground floor to several smaller galleries upstairs. The building and each gallery space oozes of history, warmth and charm.
It was my pleasure to recently exhibit my paintings at the SJAC. I was allowed complete artistic freedom and treated with cooperation and respect. This place is run by a talented, energetic and efficient director and staff.”
Riel Nason, visual artist
“I was so pleased the second I found out that my debut textile art exhibit had been accepted for display at the Saint John Arts Centre — and I remained completely pleased throughout the whole process. Andrew and Kelly were very helpful and quick to answer my questions as someone new to the arts scene. Hopefully the chance will come around again for me to exhibit at the SJAC as I would welcome the opportunity!”
Allison Green, visual artist
“It has been an all-around pleasure showing at the Saint John Arts Centre. The staff were exceptionally helpful, very flexible, and in no way intimidating for an emerging artist. It is clear that a lot of care goes into planning the opening reception – the people of Saint John come out in force to support their visiting artists! I am so lucky to have exhibited in this unique space and I look forward to working with the Saint John Arts Centre again.”
Nate Guimond, Artist, Workshop Instructor & Volunteer
“As a young artist from Saint John, I want to say that the Saint John Arts Centre has given me a helpful start in “making it” as a professional artist.
Not only were they welcoming and helpful to me in hosting my first solo exhibition, but they have gone above and beyond any of my expectations in giving me opportunities to offer workshops, art camps, and events. They have regularly extended contact and invitations to me to take advantages of their resources, and have made me feel welcomed and valuable as an artist and person. They make available the use of their facilities, resources, and staff in a friendly and giving manner and are also encouraging and supportive of my particular artistic visions and methods, even when they are unconventional.
I would like to give my highest commendation and appreciation to the staff of the Arts Centre for the great job they are doing, and encourage other artists, educators, and art-dabblers to look here for opportunities to realize some of their artistic inclinations.”
Michèle Brideau, Project Coordinator, Saint John 225
”The Saint John Arts Centre is a place to discover new artists and reacquaint myself with artists whose work inspires me. I can do all this with friends and family because the SJ Arts Centre truly welcomes everyone who comes in through their doors.”
Sarah Jane Conklin, Visual Artist
“Impressive! As an exhibiting artist, that is what comes to mind as I recall my impression of the Saint John Arts Centre. The entire staff – volunteers included – responsible for the invitation, catalogue, curating, reception and advertising- were outstanding. I was particularly pleased with the graphics in the literature/invitation that the in-house graphic designer, Kelly Cunningham, produced. Furthermore, the building with it’s distinctive architecture, high ceilings and effective lighting, creates an ideal environment and venue for art exhibits.
“Thank you” to all involved. As a visual artist, I am delighted to have had this wonderful opportunity. The Saint John Arts Centre is indeed a tremendous arts and cultural asset to Saint John.”
James E. Pay, Visual Artist
“Eileen and I would like to report to you on our experience at our workshop at Saint John Art Centre, July 5 and July 6, 2010.
The facility is great. The art works show extremely well in the venue. Every artist exhibiting must be proud of the setup. What stands out most for us was the friendly helpfulness of the staff from the time we arrived to the time we left.
Although the class was only a group of five participants, we all became friends and the response to my workshop by these five was great. All stated they would come to a another workshop if I was asked again.
New Brunswick people are extremely friendly and accommodating. The class indicated the workshop was a great learning experience.
We have conducted hundreds of art workshops in Canada, Scotland and USA and we felt Saint John was one of the best venues we have enjoyed.
Thanks for the opportunity.”
Laura Ritchie, Past Executive Director, New Brunswick Crafts Council
“The New Brunswick Crafts Council has been so pleased to partner with The Saint John Arts Centre and in sending exhibitions there we know our members’ works are in good hands. The staff is knowledgeable, kind, and fun to work with and the building is no less than inspiring. We certainly hope to be able to display exhibits there more often – they make it easy!”
Greg Klassen, Photographer
“I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to exhibit my work at the SJAC. I loved the space (the library gallery was absolutely perfect for my work). But, mostly, I was so very impressed (and grateful) for the enthusiastic – and professional – support of all the staff and volunteers. It was gratifying to see how the people at the SJAC handled all the setup issues and preparations for the opening with a nonchalance – born of long practice no doubt – that made the process seem absolutely painless. And speaking of the opening: it was so wonderful – and encouraging to an emerging artist such as myself – to be so warmly accepted, not only by the staff but by all the visitors – a true testament to the enthusiasm with which Saint Johners embrace the arts. I had an absolutely great time and will long remember all the wonderful and thought-provoking comments. Once again, thank you for everything. I am in your debt.”
Grace Thrasher, Communications Manager, Canada Council for the Arts
“We recently organized a meeting with about 15 people at your Centre and wanted to commend you and your staff on the excellent service they provided in organizing the logistics. Both Nora and Kelly were easy to deal with and made everyone feel right at home. The meeting went off without a hitch (aside from the raging snowstorm outside!) and Nora and Kelly ensured that our every need was met.
I would not hesitate to recommend the Saint John Arts Centre to others for similar events. In addition to the high quality staff, holding meetings in a room surrounded by art was a definite bonus. Thank you for all of your help!”
Jordan Stewart, Poet & Author
“I had a blast working with the SJ Arts Centre. From the professional and friendly staff, to the more than accommodating space and resources, it made my book launch not only successful but very enjoyable. I consider the Arts Centre one of Saint John’s finest assets and I look forward to working with them, and visiting as much as I can in the future.”
Jason Ogden, Musician
“Playing in the Saint John Arts Centre’s Tompkins Studio Hall was a true pleasure. The staff were friendly and helpful, and the room itself is the perfect setting for small intimate performances. A very classy, yet comfortable performing environment.”
Susan Grosweiner Lieberman
“What a wonderful visit my husband and I had to the Saint John Arts Centre in September of 2009! The spaces are wonderful—so colourful and uplifting, and they provide a great setting for the various exhibits. It’s quite a change from my high school days when I worked there in the library! My mother, Ella Grosweiner, was the first Cultural Affairs Officer for the city, and she organized the first art shows in the Centre. I remember hearing about each new exhibit that was going up. She was passionate about the arts and would have loved seeing such a wide range of exhibits and so many speakers and classes using the facility to such an extent. I can see the Centre is a real team effort.”
Kathleen Flanagan, Photographer
“Having my photographs exhibited at the Saint John Art Centre was a wonderful experience. Located in one of the famous Carnegie buildings, SJAC is a gorgeous setting to display and discuss art. The gallery’s staff was most helpful and supportive. The opening for my exhibit was well organized and well attended by an erudite and discerning audience. I couldn’t have been more pleased.”
Harold Wright, Local Historian and Author
“I’ve been visting this building since the early 1960s: first the Carnegie library to borrow books and to do research, and then the ABEC, both as an exhibitor and a consumer of their programs.
The SJAC has filled a significant gap for a cultural showcase for the greater Saint John area. I have been privileged to use the Centre again as an exhibitor and a visitor of the varied programs offered at the Centre. The SJAC has become the premier cultural showcase for Saint John.”
Constance Wooldridge, Artist and Workshop Instructor
“In this wonderful season, we are filled with thoughts of giving to others, and it is time to reflect on those marvelous gifts of joy and creativity received from art students, both children and adults. In addition, it is with pleasure and appreciation, that I have the opportunity to work with the friendly and knowledgeable staff at the Saint John Arts Centre. We are, indeed, blessed to have this arts centre in our city.”
Tracy Magee, Project Coordinator, Uptown Saint John
“Having just completed an 8 week Creative Non-Fiction writing workshop at the Saint John Arts Centre, I would like to express my appreciation for this unique venue. There is something very relevant about the creative influence of surroundings. The feeling begins with the very first step, and grows with each, up to the front doors of the SJAC. After stepping inside, one can not help but be engulfed in a rich subconscious sense of omniscient flavour. Every sensation is touched by the history of the building; culture past, present and future blending wonderfully.
We should not understate the influence the Saint John Arts Centre has on the artistic community. I appreciate it every time I visit and I look forward to future endeavours at this magnificent and historic gem in uptown Saint John.”
Heidi Hudson, Visual Artist and Photographer
“As an emerging artist, the centre made it possible for me to exhibit with an established Gallery for the first time. I have read and watched the career paths of established fine artists and they all needed that first door to open before being accepted as noteworthy; therefore, creating other windows of opportunity. The Saint John Arts Centre has been that door for me, thus broadening the scope of career opportunities available to me now. Throughout the process the staff have been an outstanding talented, encouraging and supportive team to work with. I’ve recently received emails from people saying that they were so impressed with the exhibits, and the Centre’s collaborative efforts in bringing the artists and the community together that they became members after the opening reception.
The process of preparing for the opening reception was a collaborative and inclusive experience with all of the staff at the Centre. What really stood out to me was how talented, friendly, and professional the staff are, especially when nearing the deadline of the opening. When nearing deadlines at the Saint John Arts Centre the atmosphere was professional and jovial. So, I actually took moments to stand back and watch the staff work and interact. I can’t recall a better example of teamwork in my career.”
Philip Savage, Sculptor
“Having visited the SJ Arts Centre Building since I was a child, it has been a fulfilling and humbling experience to display my own creations in these very walls. ‘Escape Pod’ being my first gallery exhibit I am pleased to have it among a diversity of artistic talent and media as well as the congenial and timeless atmosphere that the centre conveys to myself and to many others.
The expressive comments and encouragement from viewers of the pod series have provided me with a rush of confidence to continue my exploration in wood sculpting. All in all the experience has made me feel that, despite the hard work and nagging uncertainty of outcome, art is worthwhile and greatly appreciated.”
Rita Sassani, Visual Artist and Sculptor
“The joint opening of the various exhibitions in the SJAC creates an event that is exciting for both visitors and artists, by revealing a diverse range of media and styles. The name tags facilitated smooth and enjoyable communication with visitors.”
George Fry, Multimedia Artist
“Showing at the Saint John Arts Centre is fun. One is right royally treated by everyone there, the galleries are pleasant and the printed catalogues, posters etc. are beautifully designed. The openings are like old home week and are enriching because one opens with a group of artists of mixed disciplines and ages which is very stimulating.”