Artwork has certainly taken on a festive vibe at the McMillan Arts Centre, where local individual artists and groups have created ornaments, wreaths and miniature Christmas trees for the MAC’s second annual Festival of Tiny Trees.
In the event’s debut last year, organizers invited artists to create small trees and decorate them in whatever creative way they wished, which were then sold via silent auction as a fundraiser for the MAC.
This year, organizers have expanded the festival to include wreaths and swag into the auction, as well as hand-crafted ornaments for sale.
“It was so successful last year that we knew we had to do it again,” said the MAC’s executive director, Jennifer Bate.
Margery Blom, the MAC’s resident artist, said she and other organizers began the fundraiser last year to bring some extra money and more people into the art centre, “and to just make it more Christmasey.
“They have festivals of trees all over the place, so we thought why couldn’t we have a festival of tiny trees, and put the call-out to artists, bring them all in, set it up and make it a silent auction? That’s how it started.”
This year, the Christmas art pieces at auction include a zentangle tree featuring unique, repeated designs on paper ornaments by the Oceanside Tanglers, a McSnowman wearing a kilt and bagpipe from the Mt. Arrowsmith Pipe Band, a tree decorate with stones and gems from the Rock and Gem Club, and much more.
“You can’t compare one with the other because they are all so different,” said Blom.
Bate expressed gratitude for all the work local artists put into making these creations for the MAC, though Blom noted the event was also an opportunity for artists to let loose with their art and do things they wouldn’t normally.
After getting into the Christmas spirit early, Blom said, she ended up devoting most of a month to making hand-painted ornaments, and ended up with 50 to give to the MAC to sell.
“It’s a challenge, too, because you’re doing what you do, but in a much smaller scale, and you’ve got to keep thinking ‘festive’ and in the end I added glitter,” she said. “I went, ‘Why not? Glitter!’”
The silent auction for the tiny trees, wreaths and swag continues until the morning of Dec. 19, while ornaments will be for sale until Dec. 23.
Last year, the event raised $800 for the MAC, said Bate. “So if we can beat that this year, that would be terrific. Not only that, hopefully we just bring more people into the building.”
“(We need) more people to realize we are here and put us on the map,” said Blom. “I mean we are a hidden gem. I promote this place all the time, and people that work just around the corner go, ‘Oh, there is an art gallery?’”
The MAC is continuing to add more programming and have more groups use the space, including the Rock and Gem Club, which will be meeting at the MAC every month starting in January, said Bate.
“Things are hopping around here. It’s been great,” she said.
For more info on the MAC and the Festival of Tiny Trees, go to mcmillanartscentre.com.