A pillar of the local arts community has been named honorary chair of the 2011 artsPeak arts festival last week.
John Borrowman accepted the honour last Thursday (March 31), joining an esteemed group of locals like Ron Marra, Michael Vincent, Donna Jo Massie, Cori Brewster and Cheryl Baxter – all past chairs.
The local potter and former gallery owner said he is excited to fill the honorary chair’s role, which will give him an opportunity he has not had in the past – to attend the annual festival’s many events.
“It is a real honour to have been given this recognition this year,” Borrowman said. “artsPeak as an event is really close to my heart… for the 35 years I have been in Canmore it has been my daily life to support and celebrate art.
“This year, I will be able to get out and see a lot of the events, which is exciting.”
Because of his pottery studio, Of Cabbages and Kings, which he began in 1991, and having owned Avens Gallery until last year, Borrowman said in the past he has been unable to attend the festival’s events.
Festival chairperson Jocelyn Asnong said Borrowman has had a vital role in mentoring new artists to the community since moving to Canmore himself in 1975.
“We are truly excited to have John Borrowman join us as honorary chair for artsPeak 2011,” Asnong said. “As an artist, studio owner and gallery owner, John has a wealth of personal experience and knowledge of the Canmore arts scene.
“He has mentored many up-and-coming local artists and has been an avid supporter of the artsPeak festival since its inception.”
Festival director Ric Proctor pointed to Borrowman’s 30 years in the community and his active involvement in a wide range of arts activities as being invaluable.
“John’s contributions to the arts in the Bow Valley and beyond give him the exact credentials we look for,” he said. “Of particular importance, from my perspective, is John’s continuing commitment to mentoring emerging artists, which is completely in line with the mandate of artsPeak.”
Borrowman, who is serving his second term on town council, moved to Canmore from Ontario in 1975.
He joined an established group of potters sharing studio space known as Stonecrop Pottery and started his own studio on Ninth Street. He operated The Quest Gallery of Canadian Craftsmanship in Banff until 2000 and the Avens Gallery until 2010.
He has been instrumental in building Canmore’s art scene into the vibrant part of the community it is today.
He has been active in the Canmore Artists and Artisans Guild, served on the board of the Alberta Crafts Council and the Lamphouse Centre for the Arts Society.
Today he remains active in his pottery studio with his daughter, Katie.