There is a new artist in residence at the Strathmore Municipal Library, Carmen Erison, who is also the Assistant Director of Library Services, has her work on display until the end of November.

The last time Erison had her artwork displayed was just over a year ago, and she is bringing new techniques she has learned this time around, "You're going to see quite a variety of art this time, my style has changed quite a bit. Before you would see generally just pour art or fluid art, I brought in a lot more mixed media this time."

It is not mandatory, but artists can put their pieces up for sale and Erison has already sold 3, "Generally we don't require artists to sell their pieces, we just love to be able to showcase artists in our library, but if they want they can. We require a 20% commission that goes to the library. So when you're purchasing art in the library, you're not just supporting the artist, you're also supporting the library."

art"I dream of Oceans" by Carmen Erison. This painting has been sold

For artists that would like to display their art Erison said that the space is open to anyone of any age with any skill level and generally it can be a year to a year and a half before the same artist will be back to display new works. 

As for Erison, what started as a hobby has developed into her passion.

"I never saw myself as an artsy person growing up; I couldn't even draw a stick figure it just was not in me. Then I decided to attend one of those paint nights and I kind of really loved it.  It just kind of awakened that creative passion in me."

After diving into her art Erison started to share what she was creating with friends and through social media and she explained that before she knew she was selling her work. 

"That was about four years ago and it just kind of all blew up from there. From basically creating art pieces like fluid arts and working with chains and strainers and all sorts of things. I love the way fluid art allows you to expand your creativity, it just kind of came from there and so I find it almost a type of therapy. It's really relaxing to me to be able to sit in my art room and just simply create."

Feeling the passion for her art and the calmness it brings her to create has Erison feeling this will be something that she invests herself in for a long time to come. 
"One of my favorite pieces is actually currently sitting in the art gallery, it is a combination of fluid art and resin art.  It's of a woman, you can see her hair flowing, but she also has butterflies coming from her. I loved the way it turned out and it wasn't at all what I expected it evolved into something much more."

Erison explained the library will continue to offer the gallery to artists as they feel it is a great space to not only showcase their work but to offer those who visit the library something different, "People come and see local art and they really appreciate that and what a creative community we have and I think it just really adds to the experience of coming to the library." 

For those wanting to showcase their art pieces it is as simple as contacting the library to see when there is time available, Erison said they are currently booking for next April and beyond for 2023.  

"Our goal is just to support the artists, so if you're interested in displaying in the art gallery, you can just simply display what you have, give us a call here at the library and the staff will connect you with me."

Erison highlighted that it is not just painters that they want to showcase, saying that they are also looking for photographers, quilters and all other types of art, "If you can hang it on a wall we will showcase it, so that is something to think about, there is a great amount of talent that goes into creating these pieces, and we want to showcase those talents."

Seeing the talent that is in Strathmore, Erison appreciates that the library is not the only place to showcase what creators are doing in the area, "I also want to give a shout-out to The Vault here in Strathmore because Wheatland Society of Arts is part of The Vault and they have a tremendous collection of art in this town, and so we are just so fortunate to have such a talented community. I definitely recommend you go and check out those other galleries in town and support local." 

Erison will be displaying her works for the remainder of November before they will showcase the Peace Poster contest entrants in December.  

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