You, Me, Us

by Laureen on July 23, 2014

???????????????????????????????Centre Street, Val Marie

Question: How many people does it take to make a community? Answer: All of them.

It was Slo-Pitch weekend in Val Marie recently. It took a lot of people. Jessie and his small army of Lions Club members to organize, make it happen and clean up. The Val Marie 4-H Club to run the food booth and the Hall board to put on Saturday night supper. Grasslands National Park to provide the water slide for kids. Kody to run the music in the beer garden and Susan to barbecue, and Kathy and Steven to offer their sound system for evening music. Nine teams of ball players. Everyone who showed up to play, eat, hang out. All of them.

It always takes a lot of people.

The Palais Royale, also called the Val Marie Community Hall, is getting a facelift. The Hall has been in business since the 70s, at least. The Hall takes a lot of people too. The Hall board, Betty, Richard, Angie, Jodie, Judy, Trudy and Arthur, to organize, fundraise, create events and keep everything going. Their small army of volunteers. Everyone who hosts and who attends. When the renovation is done and the building is all brand-new looking, the Hall will look like what it is, a hub of community commitment.

The Val Marie Heritage Elevator. Its exterior was completely renovated this year. Maurice and Pat and the Elevator Committee and yet another small army raised the money over seven years. So did everyone who believed in it and contributed. Now Val Marie’s wood-crib Heritage grain elevator has been preserved for future generations.

The Economic Development Committee and its Village Square and mural project and so much more. It started out as a small independent committee, taking many volunteers, and is now a part of the RM of Val Marie. Also taking many volunteers.

Whitemud Grocery, Val Marie’s community-owned share corporation grocery store. That takes Bernice and Stella and Catherine and all the board members and sometimes spouses and friends and volunteers and all the casual staff who work there. Plus everyone who owns shares and everyone who shops.

The Bob Larson Memorial Rodeo, semi-pro, always well-run, all by volunteers, always well-attended, now in its 50th year. Imagine the dedication that takes.

Prairie Wind & Silver Sage, Val Marie’s provincially recognized ecomuseum/gift shop/espresso bar. Its attendance stats and programs make other Saskatchewan museums envy.

Special occasions all year long. There are so many.

What else takes people? The school. The daycare. The Prairie Learning Centre. The Prairie Community Club. The Harvest Moon Cafe. The Val Marie Hotel. The Annual Bonspiel and Square Draw and hockey. The Village and RM office, Cathy and Jodie and both Councils, and all their workers and volunteers. Movies every weekend. The post office. The library. Grasslands National Park and everyone it employs. Grasslands Gallery. Houses lived in and improved on. Visitor accommodation. All sorts of employment and self-employment enterprises, big and small. Workers, dreamers, doers, believers.

Everyone who lives here. Everyone who shows up.

It takes everyone. You, me us.

*   *   *

Know someone who’d like to see this? Please feel free to pass it on!

The blog is a series of posts from one artist/art gallery owner’s life in her community in one of Canada’s most beautiful and remote wilderness regions. To receive updates with beautiful images, stories about the Grasslands and its artists and inspiration every week, just put your email in the box on the right. We never share your email address.

 

Share/Bookmark

{ 4 comments }

A Butte of a Morning

by Laureen on July 16, 2014

???????????????????????????????Butte and Path

Did I mention that there were mosquitoes? Great hovering clouds of them. Everywhere. For a couple of weeks, even horses stayed inside. The local grocery store couldn’t keep up with bug spray demand. I talked to a few campers during that period, unsuspecting visitors to the Grasslands. It sounded like they were having a memorable time.

Most people took it in their scratching stride. A few complained. One or two let me know they were personally and downright offended. I knew how they felt. None of us liked it either.

Not much anyone could do about it, though. Not even the best holiday destination – which I think this one is – can prevent a downpour of June rain followed by warm weather.

But like most pestilences, these pests go in cycles. If you have a lucky day, you can still get outside in the beautiful land.

Which is what the artist Catherine Macaulay and I did this week. Early one morning before the heat took hold, long-sleeved and well sprayed in Deet, we walked Eagle Butte. Just us and the wildflowers and one mule deer doe. We used the trail; she used the wild land around us. The three of us had a quiet and precious time.

It was an artist’s photography morning and a tribute to a place we both love. There are those who say this land is threatened. That we may be the last to use it this way. No one can predict the future. But would you want to take that chance?

Visit the Grasslands. It is gorgeous here. In a year of rain and mosquitoes, there is so much colour. Green grass, tall and sheltering. Sky like lazuli jewels. On the ground, small petals flowering.

We’ll see you soon.

*   *   *

Know someone who’d like to see this? Please feel free to pass it on!

The blog is a series of posts from one artist/art gallery owner’s life in her community in one of Canada’s most beautiful and remote wilderness regions. To receive updates with beautiful images, stories about the Grasslands and its artists and inspiration every week, just put your email in the box on the right. We never share your email address.

{ 6 comments }

Five Artists in Residence Arrive in Val Marie

July 9, 2014

James R Page, “Near Val Marie” (archivally printed photo) Imagine a village of artists in a remote community, inspired and supported by that community and each other. Imagine Val Marie, population about 130, where the per capita artist population stands at about 10%. (And where many of these talented people work in more than one […]

Read the full article →

A Cure for Everything

July 3, 2014

Wild roses in wind Summer was a long time coming. Instead of gentle air and spring warming, we had late frost, torrential rains. Hurricane winds. Cold. You always knew it would end. In this country, there will never be a summer without heat. But sometimes you wonder. When? This week, it turns out. And look. […]

Read the full article →

Haters 1, Caring & Concerned Citizens 12152

June 25, 2014

Artist in studio (Photo: M Magee) I’ve always lived a quiet life. Invisible, even. After all, I’m an artist. Unlike authors, our photos don’t appear on the backs of books. Other than the very famous and very few, who we are remains unknown. And in any public life I have, whether it’s as an artist, […]

Read the full article →