Arts grant helps Island artist explore deeper creativity and expression
Islanders may know visual artist Renee Laprise’s work from a past group exhibit at The Guild in Charlottetown, called ‘Reclamations.’ This fall, the artist was very excited to have her first solo show on display at The Guild.
She says it took her some time to find her voice as an artist but when her parents passed away in 2018, she began exploring the push and pull between the physical and nonphysical plains and a definitive theme quickly emerged.
That theme prevails throughout her exhibit ‘Re-Woven’ where several of PEI’s iconic natural elements, such as foxes, coyotes, moon snails and stunning landscapes, are also highlighted.
Laprise graduated from the University of Toronto/Sheridan College’s Art and Art History program and has been living on the Island for the past 16 years.
She was one of several artists to receive an arts grant from the provincial government in the winter of 2020. The funding supports artists in areas such as film and media arts, music, theatre, crafts, visual arts, interdisciplinary arts, writing and publishing.
“The grants are great because they make you feel seen as an artist. They give you confidence,” she says.
The money helped to pay for her painting supplies but more importantly gave her creative flexibility.
“The funding lets you explore. You aren’t creating stuff to sell - you’re creating it to push your practice.”
Laprise says that for her, the funding is also about recognition. “It sparked me to keep going, because someone else is seeing my value as an artist.”
She had originally proposed four pieces for her PEI Arts Grant application but ended up developing an entire show.
The arts grant also helped encourage Laprise to push the narrative explorations of her pieces and she now feels deeply connected to her ancestors, parents, history and nature.
She is already thinking about her next project and says she will apply for the grant again in future.