We are a couple from the city who have settled in a small seaside paradise where we are in our 7th year of transforming an abandoned government (a former post office, customs house, and armoury) building into an art space.
We are an independently operated arts and residency centre where hosting artists, scientists, volunteers, and others is at the core of much of what we do. We provide AIRs (artists in residence) opportunities to exhibit, to teach workshops, and to connect with other creative people. We have an ongoing call for outdoor sculpture and public art. In 2016 and 2017 we organized and hosted an international Art of Paper Awards & Exhibitions, we host poetry evenings and other literary events, performances, artists’ talks, lectures, et cetera
Our philosophy centres on 3 areas: (1st) making the old new again by preserving and/or repurposing old buildings, old furniture, old clothes, and all sorts of other abandonned or discarded materials (2nd) providing space, opportunity, and support for artists, scientists, and others, to initiate, engage, and participate in creative acts (3rd) having fun.
The project began with the ambition to save a derelict building, the old post office, which had been boarded up for over 40 years and had been ransacked and left to rot. When we started the roof leaked, there was no plumbing or electric or heat. The space is now fully functional. The top floor of this heritage building is now a large apartment for visiting friends, artists, travellers, and volunteers. It has views over the Main St and the water. The second level is a multifunctional space used as a gallery and for performances, workshops, and studio space. The main floor is home to a secondhand bookshop and vegetarian cafe where we host poetry nights, lectures, musical acts, etc. The basement has a kiln, storage space, and lots of potential.
In addition, there are 2 apartments in an 1877 wood building overlooking the water where we host visitors, one with 2 bedrooms and the other with 3 bedrooms. Also, 10 km out of the village we have an 8 acre piece of land on a cliff overlooking the water. The property has a passive solar house as well as a 3-season cottage plus a small cabin.
In May 2017 we purchased a former united church which is 2 blocks away from the former post office. We are using it as performance space and studios.
We host visitors in all of the spaces and have even had people pitching tents in the fields overlooking the water. From the house or cabin it is an easy stroll down to the beach where you can witness the highest tides in the world changing every 6 hours. From in town it is never a far walk to be at water's edge and, with a vehicle or a longer walk, there are many beaches to explore.
The village itself has a population of around 1000 and is home to a summer theatre, a geological museum, and a historical museum. The last weekend of October there is an Atlantic film festival in town which is small but excellent. At all times of year there are regular open mic and music events. The town is famed for its annual gem and mineral show which has been happening for over 50 years and has also been the site of some important fossil finds.
Everyone (AIRs, volunteers, friends, et cetera) who stays here is expected to help with the general cleaning of the spaces and to keep their own space clean and neat as well as the bathrooms and kitchen areas.
We offer a place to stay and the opportunity to participate in various creative activities and events. If there are workshops, volunteers can take them at half price (the other portion of the fees goes to the artists giving the workshops) If you teach something and want to offer a workshop or event, this is possible (make a proposal :-) . If you charge $ for the workshop, the centre takes 50%.
We do not currently provide meals. This is because we are both vegetarian (ovolacto) and our house is 11 km out of the village where the main buildings are. Although we do often cook and share meals together with the artists, they are responsible for their own food and often do for themselves so it makes most sense for us to do this with volunteers as well. This means sometimes we cooperate to have group meals and sometimes everybody makes their own. Each kitchen is provided with some staple fare to start... seasonings, rice, beans, lentils, cereal, pasta, flour, et cetera. No one who stays here goes hungry but ultimately everyone is responsible for their own food and we appreciate if people replace things before they leave.
We are both bilingual in English and French.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
You may have the opportunity to meet artists, poets, musicians, writers, and more from both here and elsewhere. We have hosted many visitors from all over Canada and the world: poets, dancers, sculptors, shipbuilders, geologists, papermakers, etc. You may be invited to participate in poetry evenings, art projects and other programming that happens while you are here. If you are an artist, you will have access to space in which to work on your practice.
You will experience the phenomenon that is the Minas Basin of Fundy Bay and see the awesome power of these highest tides in the world (the difference between high tide and low tide is often as much as 44 vertical feet (13 metres) or more. The landscape is spectacular and there are many beautiful beaches to explore and places to hike.
We are both bilingual in French and English and have some Dutch and German.
We always have lots to do and are looking for help with everything and anything ranging from general maintenance, gardening, repairs, cleaning, helping set up for events, help with promoting events with posters or social media and networking and other internet marketing tools.
Help with cooking, especially for group meals.
Keeping hours in the gallery so the public can view the exhibitions (there is no charge for the gallery).
Current big projects may include: digging a small vegetable / herb garden, yard work, tidying up around the outside of the buildings and doing small repairs, help with setting up a pottery wheel and workspace, help with cleaning and setting up a gallery space in the basement; small repairs, clean up, and set up of studios in the new Centre for the Performing Arts & Studios (a recent addition which used to be a united church); help to plan and build an outdoor oven; building a grape arbor; help moving furniture around and keeping the living spaces in order; help with art projects, and cleaning trash from the beaches.
Please let us know which tasks appeal to you most.
We offer accommodations in one of the following: the 3rd floor apartment of the main building (waterview), 2 apartments in town (waterview). The main building has wifi. 11 km out of the village there is also a 3-season one bedroom cottage perched on a cliff overlooking the water plus a one room cabin adjacent to the main house. The main house has good wifi and there is wifi available a short walk from both cabin and cottage. Volunteers usually stay in one of the apartments but depending on how busy we are it may be possible to stay part of the time in one of the cabins.
There is much to see and do for the nature enthusiast. We are also a 2 hour drive from Halifax and an hour and a half to the Halifax or Moncton airports. Volunteers who come with their own vehicle will have more independence and be better able to take advantage of all the area has to offer. It is possible however to come without a vehicle as both the main building, the apartment, and the performance space are in walking distance to all amenities.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 15 hours a week (Food not provided)