In the late 1980’s the Foundation’s founder James Baird was visiting Toronto where he saw a painting by Nancy Kembry entitled Still Life: Fragmentation.
He was so haunted by that painting that he reached out to invite the artist to visit Newfoundland. Nancy arrived the following year with Marlowe, Milkweed and Ken (dog, cat and husband) to the original building which was in a failed restaurant building on the Main Road in Pouch Cove.
The Kembry’s enthusiasm for the craggy coast of Pouch Cove and the admittedly rough facilities on offer caused Nancy to write about the place in a New York independent artists newsletter which prompted many requests to use the place.
“ I was not even aware of artist residency programs when I invited the first painters to visit and the program slowly evolved and grew as I figured out what worked for participants.”
“ Initially there were application forms, sleeves of slides, letters of recommendation, proposals, and SASE.”
“ Then there was an application fee and a small occupancy cost but it all involved too much paperwork and the inevitability the rejection of three artists for every one that could be hosted.” That was even true when the program moved from one studio to two, then to four and from the summer months to year round operation.
“ Over time the process that evolved was an invitation-
only system that changed the dynamic. Removing the application process, eliminating rejection and disappointment and replacing it with surprise and delight at being selected.”
There is no out-of-pocket cost to the artist for participation in the program.
The Foundation’s only request is for the donation of a mutually acceptable work of art from the artist.