Monday, August 24, 2009

Paint the Hurricane

I suppose that Hurricane Bill could best be described as a near miss for much of Nova Scotia. In the Annapolis Royal area we lost power for a while and there are a few scattered branches on the ground but nothing too serious. This is nothing but good news as nobody wants to feel the full power of a hurricane. Since I was volunteering for Paint the Town I needed to make my way into Annapolis Royal around 1:00pm. I came in a bit early to see if there was any interesting weather on display and there really wasn't anything. No huge crashing waves, no flooding in the streets, no broken windows and no fishing boats lying in the middle of the road. Yet again, being mostly missed by a hurricane is not a bad thing.

That leaves me with the weekend's other big event, Paint the Town. Despite a somewhat smaller crowd than anyone would hope for, the event was more or less immune to the storm. For about a half of an hour the auditorium at the legion lost power and had water leaking on the floor but this definitely did not spoil the occasion. By 6:00 on Sunday there was the same feverish bidding to see who would claim the paintings by Geoff Butler, Rose Adams, David Lacey and the other 77 talented artists. As usual, there was a great deal of interesting artwork created. I always find it interesting to see our town interpreted by artists.

Paint the Town continues a long tradition of artistic endeavors in the Annapolis Royal region. The earliest artwork in the area is decidedly the Mi'kmaw petroglyphs located at Kejimkujik National Park. These images carved into the local rock described the lives, legends and stories of the Mi'kmaq people. In 1606 this area saw the creation of the Theatre of Neptune by Marc Lescarbot at the Port Royal Habitation.

More recently, the Annapolis Heritage Society has worked with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to purchase a collection of paintings done by Lt. Richard Williams in 1776. These paintings are an excellent example of how important art can be to historical research. These paintings document the Annapolis Royal waterfront as it appeared when the paintings were done. Among the interesting parts of the paintings are the orignial St Luke's Anglican Church (located at the current Farmer's Market) and the crib work around the Fort Anne waterfront. When used in this way paintings can become an invaluable primary source. Will this weekend's paintings become used in this way? While we now have photography and video to document buildings, landscapes and events, today's paintings still capture a moment in time which can be quite useful to future historians. Even when the paintings are done on somewhat stormy days.

All for now,

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