Charlotte Street Art Centre opens artist-in-residence exhibition

Brittany Schuler, a visual artist, explored 32 native tree species in the Acadian Forest. (Submitted: Brittany Schuler)

Charlotte Street Arts Centre opened an exhibit on Sept. 23 featuring the artists from the Summer Artist-in-Residence Program.

Between June and September, different artists spent two to three weeks outside their studios in the Fredericton Botanic Garden at Odell Park.

Brittany Schuler was one of the artists involved in the project. Schuler is a visual artist with experience in oil paints, charcoal, metal leaf and collage. She explored the 32 native tree species in the Acadian Forest. To her, each tree encompasses a different personality and she wanted to capture that essence.

“It is a very special biosphere. It’s a very special unique combination of trees,” Schuler said. “Each leaf, depending on the species, is so different and it creates texture.”

She sketches with charcoal because it is easier to get an idea of the shadows and highlights and uses oils to colour her work. Her favourite tree to paint is the yellow birch.

Brittany Schuler was one of the artists involved in the Charlotte Street Arts Centre’s Summer Artist-in-Residence Program.(Submitted: Brittany Schuler)

“When the light hits the yellow birch, the bark looks gold, you can see a bit of the metallic yellow underneath,” she said. “I just think that’s incredible, visually-speaking, and aesthetically.”

Schuler is grateful that the exhibition was in-person because it allowed her to see the other artists’ work. She said she was especially mesmerized by Renata Britez’s textiles, which hung from the ceiling.

“The art was available to people in-person and it’s different than looking at art on a screen,” she said. “I find that you can only understand so much about the work. Especially where the show had a lot of work that had a lot of texture to it and it was definitely worth going to see in-person.”

Kaelyn Merrithew, the marketing and events coordinator at Charlotte Street Arts Centre, said the exhibit went well even with the new COVID-19 restrictions.

“That was our first time asking for proof of vaccination at the Art Centre… and everyone was super respectful. Everybody had theirs ready to show,” said Merrithew.

Jason Anderson, a singer and songwriter, was also present at Odell Park for the Summer Artist In Residence Program. (Submitted: Jason Anderson)

Jason Anderson, a singer and songwriter, was also present at Odell Park. In the three weeks of the exhibition, Anderson met hundreds of people and wrote 10 new songs. He got to perform one of those songs, “Summer Gone”, in the exhibit.

“I wrote it on a particularly cool and drizzly day in the forest. On my walk into the woods that morning, I had noticed a few leaves that had already started to change colour, turning from green to red, even in late August,” he said.

Anderson said the changing of colours reminded him of the passage of time and that the transition between two seasons can be contemplative and emotional.

Around 60 people attended the event at different times. Anderson said all of the attendants wore masks and socially distanced.

“I even sang with a mask on, which did not … hinder the performance in any way,” Anderson said.

He said the exhibition was the perfect culmination for their time in the program.

“I feel lucky to live in a city that is so supportive of the arts,” said Anderson. “There is just so much going on and I am humbled to be a small part of it all.”