Friday, January 11, 2008

Hilda Woolnough Remembered

Island artist and arts advocate passes.

As published by the Prince Edward Island Council of the Arts, Jan 11, 2008

The Island Arts Newsletter

Volume 3 Issue 58 - The Standard Edition

Editors note: Hilda served as design instructor at Holland College School of Visual Arts in the crafts section of the school in the 1980's. Besides her career as an artist and arts advocate, she shared her great passion with her students, for the integration of strong design principles in handcraft design.

The Prince Edward Island arts community lost a vibrant and colourful member on December 12, 2007.

Hilda Woolnough was a renowned artist and printmaker, but she was much more to fellow artists. She was a tireless champion of artist's rights and opportunities and the driving force behind The Phoenix Gallery, The Gallery-On-Demand, the Great George Street Gallery, The Arts Guild, the Printmakers Council and the Student Art Expo. Hilda served on the boards of many professional provincial and federal arts organizations, and was a lifetime member of the PEI Council of the Arts. In recognition of her contributions to the arts in Prince Edward Island, the Council awarded her the Father Adrien Arsenault Senior Arts Award in 1999. That same year, she was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy. Hilda's work is in many public and private collections including the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Canada Council Art Bank.

Hilda was born in Northampton, England and immigrated to Canada in 1957, settling in Hamilton, Ontario. After time spent in Mexico, where she earned a Master's of Fine Art degree at the San Miguel de Allende Instituto; in London, England, where she did post-graduate work at the Central School of Art and Design; and in Kingston, Jamaica, where she designed the etching and lithography departments at the Jamaica School of Art; Hilda found her way to PEI. Together with her husband, UPEI professor, writer and publisher, Reshard Gool, who died in 1989, she formed part of the nucleus for a vibrant arts community. Indeed, her elegant presence, colourful clothes and opinions made an occasion of every event she attended.

To honour Hilda's contribution to the arts on Prince Edward Island and her dedication to arts and youth the Prince Edward Island Council of the Arts has established the "Hilda Woolnough Memorial Scholarship" for Island students pursuing post-secondary education in visual arts and who or in their first or second years of study.

"Being new to the Island, I did not know Hilda personally. However, it was impossible not hear people speak of her and her effect on the Island's Arts landscape. We have lost a tremendous champion of the Arts and of artists. Through this scholarship, it is our hope that future generations of Island artists will also remember Hilda and her enduring contribution to the Island." said Greg Doran, the Council's Chairperson.

The Board and staff of the Prince Edward Island Council of the Arts extend their condolences to Hilda's friends and family. She will be missed, but she has left a wonderful legacy for artists both on the Island and throughout Canada.

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