A tremendous enthusiast of the arts, Mississauga’s Marie Payne has been an artist since the early 1970s, using a loom to hone her craft of weaving. A set of four brown placemats with lime green and gold stripes (the popular colours of the time) was her first creation and although they’re long gone, it’s still something she’s proud of, and so she should be. She attended Humber North in the mid 1970s to further her knowledge and studied under Susan Gear, an artist Marie has tremendous respect for. The evolution saw Marie begin to attend numerous art shows, selling her weaving and woven goods within various communities, learning what does and doesn’t work in a successful show along the way. It was only natural, with all of the acquired knowledge over the past few decades, that she delved into the world of organizing art shows.
When you have as much experience as Marie does, you’re able to successfully execute productive art exhibits consistently. The renowned Port Credit Art Tour, which happens every October since 2010, was the first show she put on, in partnership with Sue Riley, who is a mosaic artist that she met by chance. The first five years consisted of only crafts and craftwork and took place in the studios of each of the artists. With each passing year, its popularity and attendance grew and now entering year seven, Marie is very proud of everyone who’s participated and is humble (how Canadian, eh?) in taking credit for this creation. Giving artists a chance to expand their audience, regardless of how seasoned, is part of what drives and motivates her. In 2017, she’ll streamline this tour under her “Arts on the Credit” umbrella, which you’ll learn more about below.
Her other big project is the Arts on the Credit show, an indoor, high end art show, which was lacking in Mississauga and recently completed its fifth year this spring. There were a respectable 30 artists over the first three years and now, the show has grown to include 42 artists! There’s even an emerging artist selected to receive a complimentary booth.
Marie has taken an upscale route by offering Hors d'oeuvres and wine on the Friday of the three day event, resulting in increased attendance and a wider audience for the artists. And to her, first and foremost it’s about the artists. She’s found a perfect balance between being upscale but far from elitist. By having it at the Waterside Inn, the venue attracts friends, families as well as appreciators of art who will likely come home with one or a few pieces.
After being on the other end of the table, Marie wants to create an environment where artists can thrive and be connected with the public and has successfully done so. Looking forward, June of 2017 will see an expansion of the brand via a jewelry show to be called “Arts on the Credit – The Jewels.”
When I asked her if she thought her efforts would end up being so successful, she graciously responded, “I had no idea we’d be this successful. The only concept we had was to do one year. We really had no long range plans…when we reached the five-year mark, I realized that this was something really, really good that of course benefited artists and we’ve seen constant growth every year.” The most rewarding part for her: “Seeing the artists excelling. We want to do more getting the word out and with these various avenues, this allows for that.”
She still weaves, although not as often as she likes, and took a course this summer in “weaving with wire” to expand her repertoire.
Her message to up and coming artists: “Just do it, find the best instructors, network, join groups, immerse yourself in what you love and show up.”
For all that she’s done for local artists, there’s definitely more ahead. A true pillar of the art community, Marie’s selfless actions and determination to help others are clearly illustrated through her community-centric shows. Mississauga is privileged to have her as an advocate for the arts and as a mentor to other artists. By attending one of her three yearly events, you just may see the world’s next influential artist.