A   V I E W   F R O M   C H A R L O T T E T O W N ,   P R I N C E   E D W A R D   I S L A N D


Confederation Centre of The Arts

No one who has cared about the Confederation Centre and has worked for it can be happy these days. It is a sad time for that important place.The unique role it plays in our community and in the country offers an exciting challenge, but a difficult one. Board and staff are always playing the balancing act. Curtis Barlow came to the Centre with an extensive background in cultural managment, excellent connections across the country - and was a lawyer to boot. The Trust and Board felt privileged to have him join them. Together it is their responsibility to balance the needs of the community with the national mandate. It is especially the local board's responsibility to protect the Island's concern in its everyday operation and to have an understanding as to the cultural expectations of this island. Missing in this present situation is the voice of the Dept. of Cultural. The Centre is under the wing of the Dept of Tourism. Nevertheless, I am distressed that any management/ employment issue is being fought out in the open by people who are not privy to all the details. I am distressed that a former staff person puts himself before the institution, but then maybe I'm just old fashioned. I am distressed at the level of name calling that has occured in this matter. It is beneath our dignity.

The Art Gallery at the Confederation Centre is of major importance to our community. It continues the good intentions of the Fathers of Confederation Centre Trust who replaced that 1928 "Munificent Gift from the Harris Family" of a Library and Art Gallery [in addition to their gift of $60,000 worth of paintings] in our Queen Square with the Confederation Centre. The confirmation that the Art Gallery plays an important role in the Centre Complex would be a comfort to the pubic at this moment.

On March the 4th, 1965 a group of caring women met in the upper Art Gallery to discuss the formation of a Women's Committee and we did just that. We brought together women from the bridge tables, the curling rinks and the various church groups to work for a cause that ended up providing them with learning experiences AND enjoyment. Often called elitist by many who did not join the cause, we weren't. No more than hockey mothers. We worked very hard with a belief that the Confederation Centre was the best thing that had ever happened in our community and indeed we believed it was. It was a wonderful mix of Island needs and Canadianism. It hurts me deeply to see the lack of impact on the part of that organization today. A few of us were made Honourary Life Members of it a number of years ago, but personally I have not heard from them in two or three years. The impact of the Friends is not strong in the community and I think that is very sad. In difficult times like we're going through, they have a value.

Maybe if we had held THE GRAND PROVINCIAL CULTURAL EXHIBITION a few years ago we would all be in a better state of understanding of just how important our heritage and culture is and how we have to nurture it.

Written Sunday, March 19, 2000 at 02:45 PM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

Website design and construction by Reinvented Inc.

ISSN 1496-3108