A former garage in downtown St. Jacobs is currently undergoing a transformation into a home to local artists who’ll be able to rent out studio space and have their work on display for sale all in one location. Jax Rula, artistic director of the Three Sisters Cultural Centre, is excited to welcome artists and visitors in the coming months.
“When we started the Three Sisters Cultural Centre it was to create a place where artists can work and sell out of the same space. An artist wants to be in their studio, they want to be making their work but they also want to sell; when you take an artist out of their studio, they’re not making work so if you can sell and work in the same place that’s ideal. The cultural centre will have studios as well as an event space so that artist have a place to exhibit larger shows as well as an artist lounge in the basement, as well as some recording studios,” said Rula.
A lover of art and a bit of and an artist herself, Rula is hoping the centre will become a supportive environment for the creative industry, helping the arts thrive in Waterloo Region.
“We are in full construction mode right now; we are hoping for opening in the new year. We are planning our inaugural exhibit for next spring.”
The yellow building in the village of St. Jacobs is set to be the new hub for local artists after it’s open, providing them space to create and sell their work as well as a space where the community can come see artists at work, buy from local artisans and view exhibits. Currently they are hosting a Culture Lot next door to their building where the community can view paintings by local artists.
“You can ask an artist for an image of their work, so they maintain the rights of their work and keep the original and then you put something on the wall outside – if it gets damaged it’s not going to be a big deal.”
An avid arts collector, Rula has purchased local artist Amy Ferrari’s paintings in the past. Wanting to work alongside her after seven or so years as friends, she curated a copy of one of Ferrari’s paintings, titled ‘The Usherer,’ to be part of the Three Sisters Culture Lot, located next to their new building on the side of the Tasting House.
“Such a beautiful painting, so perfect for here. Amy was gracious enough to let us enlarge it and put it on the wall. Everything she paints looks like it’s dancing with joy, which is just one of those things I love about art: art lifts the spirit. It’s really easy to do angry art, it’s really easy to do ugly art, to get that shock response from people. It’s not easy to do beautiful, uplifting art. Amy has mastered that really well so it’s a joy to have her image on our wall.”
It’s Ferrari’s first time having her art displayed outdoors in a public setting, and she says she’s been happy about being able to bring her art to St. Jacobs.
“I love that people have a chance to appreciate what I’ve done and what the region is about,” said Ferrari. “What an amazing thing to get paid for the image all over again. It’s appreciated.”
‘The Usherer’ is based off a photo Ferrari took of a tree on Kressler Road near Heidelberg on one of her outings with her husband.
“I just love to do landscapes and around the Region of Waterloo we have some of the most beautiful landscapes. The tree just had so much personality – I have all these other trees to paint but finally I did this painting, and that actual tree is just a kilometre or two away from here.”
Ferrari, a professional painter for the last 30 years, is known for her curvaceous style and landscape work. Rula and her mother both own paintings by Ferrari, enjoying the flowing linear lines that appear to make her paintings move.
“My grandmother was an artist and I always thought well if she can do that, so can I,” said Ferrari about why she started painting. Also a persistent doodler at a young age, Ferrari noted she always drew these types of linear-styled pieces that she later would use to create paintings such as ‘The Usherer.’
Recently the Three Sisters Cultural Centre worked with the Elmira BIA to create the art walk in downtown Elmira, similar to the one at the Culture Lot. Rula mentioned she wanted to use replicated images to ensure paintings weren’t damaged and artists were being paid fairly. Being able to sell replicated, enlarged images of their original work creates more funds for local artists.
The new home for local art is slated to open early in the new year.