Suzanne Hermary, coordinator of the Red Deer Arts Council, is continuing to build the vision for the organization. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

Expanding a vision for the Red Deer Arts Council

Suzanne Hermary is excited about building further connections in the arts community

Suzanne Hermary brings her own rich and extensive artistic experience to her role as coordinator for the Red Deer Arts Council.

It was last Fall that Hermary landed the post and, with a mission to make the City ‘a better community by stimulating, developing and promoting the arts’, it’s a role she relishes.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Red Deer Arts Council can attend the annual general meeting slated for March 13th at 7 p.m. in the Snell Auditorium (located in the basement of the Red Deer Public Library’s downtown branch).

“What I’m hoping to do for the organization is represent each of the many disciplines in the creative world,” she said. These run the gamut from visual, performing, literary and their sub-categories – dance, music, theatre, film, paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculpture, poetry and writing of all kinds.

“Creativity is endless, and the sub-categories are, too,” she added.

“If it’s something springing from your mind and being created, it’s art! And it’s all around us every single day.”

Besides serving as an advocate for local artists of so many genres, the Council also hosts a number of events throughout the year to better connect the arts community.

These include Troubled Monk Socials the third Tuesday of each month, showcasing member organizations and individuals who have upcoming events and activities and partnering with many organizations for the Alberta Culture Days each September.

The Council also hosts several exhibits each year in the Kiwanis Gallery in the downtown library.

Meanwhile, Hermary, as a trained actor and gifted singer in her own right, is herself immersed in the arts world which has enriched her own approach to her position with the Arts Council.

She’s also a Red Deer native, so her family roots in the community run deep.

Her passion for the arts also stretches back to her earliest years.

“There was a Christmas party where, at four years old, I was leading the Christmas carols,” she says with a laugh. From there, Hermary, with the onset of her school years, took part in several theatrical productions plus she was involved with Tree House Youth Theatre as well.

Post graduation she went on to study music at Red Deer College, and later took up the theatre studies there, too. She also studied at Sheridan College in Ontario.

After her studies wrapped there, she stayed on in Toronto for a while before moving to France as well.

“I made amazing friends there that I’m still connected with,” she said of those profound learning and growing experiences.

It’s all helped to fuel her involvement in the local community artistically speaking, including her role with the Arts Council. She’s also been involved with directing, and her last stint onstage was in Ignition Theatre’s spectacular and moving rendition of It’s a Wonderful Life just this past holiday season.

“It’s the connection; when you have the opportunity to connect and to bounce ideas off somebody else,” she explained of her passion for acting. “I love putting on a character that isn’t me – one that has different energy, intensity, strength and power.

“It’s also about having the opportunity to play with your humanity, and to think what would you do if you were in fact in this situation?”

The audience interaction never fails to provide plenty of inspiration as well. And that of course bubbles up via musical performance.

“To see a story progress through song is I think so much more intense and vibrant, and it adds something to the storytelling medium.”

It’s tough to picture a person better suited to helping promote and build the local arts scene.

“The biggest thing I want to do with the Arts Council is to really grow it,” she explained, adding she’d like to see membership even double over the next while. To that end, it’s also about getting the word out on what the Council is all about.

“The more members we have, the stronger our ability is to advocate for every artist in our community.”

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