By Francis Baker
Centre Wellington is in danger of losing artists as it becomes a more popular and costly place to live.
Local artist Beverley Cairns, a member of the Elora Arts Council, had that message for Centre Wellington councillors when she introduced new artwork in the Macdonald Square municipal office at last week’s council meeting.
Cairns organized the arts council’s Art in Public Places program that puts original artwork in the municipal office council chamber, the lobby of Groves Hospital, and the CW Sportsplex boardrooms.
Eva McCauley, whose work is on display in the municipal office, moved her studio to Elmira because she couldn’t find space that was large enough and affordable in Centre Wellington, Cairns said.
“We have to be careful,” Cairns told councillors. “We don’t want to lose our artists because rents go too high.”
Elora attracted a lot of artists when it was relatively inexpensive to move here, she said. As has happened in other communities, as it becomes a more sought-after destination, rents and costs go up – which often forces the artists to move to less expensive places.
“We have to keep our eye on that, and make sure we have affordable studio space,” Cairns said.
McCauley, who’s exhibited all over the world – as well as at the Elora Arts Council, spent time at the Cill Rialaig Artist Colony in Ireland (she’s returning next year), and besides being a painter and printmaker, is an accomplished celtic musician and director of the Riverside Celtic College in Guelph.