The City of Port Moody, known as “City of the Arts,” values and celebrates arts and culture. The city encourages an environment where the arts and culture sector flourishes and contributes to the community. One organization supporting and promoting art in Port Moody is the Blackberry Artist’s Society. The BAS is a co-op with the goal of connecting the community with local artists and artisans. Currently, the co-operative has a membership of 22 local artists working in a wide variety of mediums such as painting, sculpting, woodcraft, paper craft, ceramics, jewellery, fibre arts, stone carving, sewing, and drawing.
As mentioned on their website, the BAS gives members a place to “stimulate, develop and promote their own art.” But just as important is their objective to connect with the local community through art. The society accomplishes both of these goals with The Blackberry Gift Shop, located in the Port Moody Arts Centre, 2425 St. Johns Street. The gift shop features the diverse artwork of the BAS members, allowing opportunities for the artisans to promote their work and generate sales. The gift shop is run entirely on a volunteer basis by the BAS membership and is open from noon to 4pm daily. A BAS member for 13 years, Del Holbrook believes an ongoing challenge facing the gift shop is “effectively building awareness of our gift shop within the Tri-cities area.” Many area residents are unaware that the Port Moody Arts Centre even has a gift shop, but a visit to the Blackberry Gift Shop is a great opportunity to find locally made gifts and art and speak to the various artists about their work.The Blackberry Artist’s Society also takes part in several events throughout the year including Culture Days, Canada Day celebrations, Art Walk, and the Port Moody Parade. But their most exciting event is the Christmas Marketplace, on now until December 21, 2015 inside the Port Moody Arts Centre. The Marketplace is an expanded exhibition of artwork featuring handcrafted jewellery, paintings, ceramics, and much more. There is also a Christmas tree laden with one-of-a-kind ornaments. Holbrook specializes in intarsia; a method using carved and polished pieces of wood in different colours and grains to create a complete picture. For the Christmas Marketplace, he also makes wooden toys and puzzles and the increasingly popular Comfort Birds—small, hand carved wooden birds polished to a very smooth surface. You’re sure to find unique and special gifts for everyone on your Christmas list at the Blackberry Artist’s Society Christmas Marketplace.
If you are an artist and want to become part of a supportive co-operative, the BAS accepts new members through a jury system. Long-time supporter, Angela Holbrook, says, “if you create art, you can apply to join our co-operative.” After of sewing clothes and home decor for most of her life, she submitted her original hand-sewn tote bags to the BAS for approval two years ago. She was accepted to the society and is happy to chair the Christmas Marketplace and help with the social media committee.
Don’t miss the chance to shop local, support artists in your community, and give beautiful, original gifts. Visit Blackberry Gift Shop and their Christmas Marketplace. Hours are Monday to Friday 10:00am-6:00pm, Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm and Sunday 12:00noon-4:00pm.