Elizabeth Inkster (File photo)

Tlellagraph: It is true, there’s money for artists

“There are piles of money floating around and no one is claiming it.”

By Janet Rigg

There are piles of money floating around and no one is claiming it. It’s for artists, no less, a notoriously lower income bracket than most. Unless you make it “big.”

Some believe that rising to the top in the arts is a matter of raw talent. While to a degree that is true, those of us who are tone deaf likely won’t become rock stars, but those who truly do succeed devote a lot of time and practice to honing their art.

“Buy … we have to make money!” you whine (artists are often whiners in my experience). You may weakly challenge me, “How can I afford to go off-island to learn new ways of expressing my brilliance without money?”

To this I scoff. I might even laugh in your face.

“It’s right in front of you,” I might say, cryptically. Or I might just mutter something about your total lack of ingenuity under my breath before turning away and approaching the next, more resourceful, artist. There are many of you, after all. And one of you must want this money.

Now I know you are all dying to know where this pot of gold is. I’ll get to that.

First, I want to tell you about Elizabeth Inkster. If you’ve arrived on island in the last five years, you may have never heard about Elizabeth. That’s a travesty I’m about to correct.

Born in 1945 out east, Elizabeth was raised in a home full of music, books, and passion for gardening. Elizabeth and her first husband found their way to Haida Gwaii in 1970. She started a bakery here, but shortly after that her husband took a position as watchman in Shannon Bay on a small island reachable by outboard motor boat through a narrow dal channel. They stayed there for more than seven years and Elizabeth became an accomplished weaver there — her work sold throughout Canada under the name Inlet Weavers. Now that’s leaving the rat race and dedicating yourself to art.

Music was important throughout her life. She helped found the Edge of the World Music Festival, hosting it on her property in Tlell for many years and singing there herself in her own magical voice. She fulfilled a lifelong dream two years before she died of colon cancer, producing an album, My Wild Island Home.

Elizabeth was a fun, vibrant, and creative person. As part of her legacy, she wished to support future creativity on Haida Gwaii. Thus the Elizabeth Inkster Memorial Music and Arts bursary was created. This is the money I speak of. It’s there for you, artists. And if you artists are too absorbed in your “process” to apply, the people that like you might want to apply to bring up some sort of workshop that may benefit many of our artistic friends.

Who can apply?

– Residents of Haida Gwaii (minimum one year residency).

– No age limit. Students, adults and seniors are all eligible.

What music and arts courses qualify under this program?

– Any music, art, drama camps up to advanced instruction at a renowned fine arts institute.

– Fund recruitment of instructors to visit Haida Gwaii and give music or arts courses.

Fill in the application form available on the Facebook page for the Elizabeth Inkster Memorial – Music & Arts Award and email it to rka@qcislands.ca or mail it to Elizabeth Inkster Award, P.O. Box 74, Tlell B.C. V0T 1Y0. Application deadline is August 31. But don’t delay! I know you artists get distracted. For all inquiries, please contact Keith at rka@qcislands.ca.

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