“Dean Spence is the recipient of the 2015 MERA Award for Excellence in the Fine Arts and Fine Crafts, with Star Horn as runner-up.”
Dean Spence and his wife & The Runner Up
Dean Spence gets the award.
Late Friday, June 12th, 2015, in the absolute pouring rain, I loaded the car up with my handsome date (my son Fisher), and a selection of large necklaces as well as a few smaller samples, some display stands, business cards, display cloth, and very little expectations. I was not convinced that anyone would show up in such undesirable weather, for an award ceremony celebrating fine arts and crafts, in the incredibly charming but small town of McDonald’s Corners. Did I mention it was POURING?
After driving by and then circling back, we found our way into the MERA Schoolhouse (MERA: McDonald’s Corners/Elphin Recreation and Arts) and were greeting by several friendly people. I met and chatted with Marilyn Barnett (Administrator and Assistant Secretary/Treasurer), Danny Sullivan (Head of the Board of Directors), Ankaret Dean (Artistic Director), Diana Nemiroff (former Director of Carleton University Art Gallery and senior curator at the National Gallery of Canada from 1990 to 2005), numerous potters, weavers, painters and their spouses. The little schoolhouse was displaying all forms of artwork for an upcoming weekend show on it’s walls. It quickly filled up with at least 30 folk. I was so pleasantly surprised!
I felt like I had actually WON the award that evening as everyone was so congratulatory and inquisitive. Several women purchased some necklaces and immediately wore them, seemingly proud of their find. Foodsmiths had donated some wonderful treats, wine and beer was available, and a commemorative plaque was unveiled (it was made locally by an artist who used an actual piece of old slate that was used as a blackboard from the time when children were actually taught in the school). Mr Sullivan gathered everyone around for a brief presentation of certificates and kind words along with introductions of all the contributors of the evening.
Fisher, always up for a ‘dress-up’ occassion, enjoyed the snacks and was helpful in taking photo’s for me. All in all, a great experience and reminder that ‘artistically bent’ folk need to be supported, engaged with, and partied with OFTEN 😉
Oh I will sample these as well!!
Runner-Up, my Handsome Date, and my work.
Chris Dodge (Award Benefactor) and Ankaret Dean (Artistic Director of MERA) both modelling their purchases!
“The MERA Award, which is given every two years, was conceived and made possible by a generous donation by Lanark Highlands’ residents Chris and David Dodge to the Perth and District Community Foundation, which manages the funds. Recognizing MERA’s important contribution to the arts community, the Dodges chose MERA to select the Award winners.” -MERA website.
Commemorative plaque made of old schoolhouse blackboard slate.