Main & Station Nonesuch
Main & Station began as a project to save a derelict building in the seaside community of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. Although the building (an old post office, customs and armoury) is still undergoing some work, in June 2013 Main & Station re-opened the doors that had been closed 43 years earlier and it is now host to a secondhand bookshop, an art gallery, a café, workshops, seminars, community events and Artist residencies. In May 2017, Main & Station took on another heritage property at risk of demolition, a former United Church. The new space has been dubbed the "Nonesuch Centre for the Performing Arts & Studios" and is currently being used as studio spaces, for events and workshops. The former sanctuary of the building remains intact with seating and a working pipe organ. Main & Station also organizes and hosts the Nonesuch Art of Paper Awards and Exhibitions. Main & Station & the Nonesuch Residencies are 100% privately funded. The organziation does not apply for or receive government grants.
The Nonesuch mission is to have fun and to encourage artistic activity, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community involvement. Travel can be quite a stimulus to ideas and creativity. The residency program allows participants the opportunity to work creatively in one or more new environments. Support to the community is via arts programming, seminars, collaborations, small venue presentations, and partnerships.
The residency program is open to artists of all types including writers, dancers, and musicians. They also offer a chef's residency and are open to residency applications from any discipline. In the past they have hosted visual and performance artists of many sorts as well as a few from other disciplines such as schooner builders, editors, historians, and geologists. The number of residents can vary from 1 to 10 depending on the time of year and the projects being engaged in.
While all the residencies are self-directed and their length depends upon the artist's own goals and project, each resident is asked to give an Artist Talk and to provide some type of Community Arts Programming. Artists are not required to ‘produce’ work, although many do, but they do ask in the application that potential residents outline their goals for the residency and there is an expectation that they work toward those goals while here.
Depending upon the time of year, there may be 1 to 10 residents at any given time and artists are also asked to participate in the life of the Centre by supporting each other, attending each other's talks, joining in some group meals, et cetera Residents are also encouraged to contribute a little time toward improving or helping maintain the place. One visitor planted a maple tree, another painted a sign, another rearranged the kitchen in the 3rd floor loft. Residents are typically given the opportunity to exhibit, perform, or otherwise show their work. Those who wish to do so also have the option to teach one or more workshops.
They have several spaces that are used as studios depending upon the resident’s practice / project and the time of year. These include the secondfloor gallery and the ground floor of Main & Station where they frequently host workshops as well and residents are working in a public space and may engage with the visiting public. In the Nonesuch Centre there are two tower rooms with lots of windows for residents who wish a private workspace. The main floor (sanctuary) of this former church is suitable for musicians, composers, and various performance arts while the ground level also has a large space with a stage as well as two other good sized rooms that can be used for various types of work. It is also not uncommon for residents to set up their workspace in their living area such as the 3rd floor loft or the cottage depending upon the discipline. For certain types of projects and work, residents sometimes also choose to work outdoors or in the Main & Station basement.
Nonesuch Residents in Parrsboro will be offered accommodation in one of the following: the third floor apartment of Main & Station, a room in a ground level 2 bedroom apartment in the centre of town, an equipped cottage perched on a cliff overlooking the Minas Basin, a small cabin nestled in the trees overlooking the Minas Basin, or a billett in a private residence.
Although they do have a variety of materials (paper, paint, clay, etc) and resources (projectors, tools, a kiln, a wheel, a pipe organ, etc) available on site, residents are typically expected to bring the materials they require for their practice/project. Prior to each residency they engage in a correspondence to establish what each resident requires so that it can be determined what is already available on site and what should be brought or acquired.
The ground floor of Main & Station houses a secondhand bookshop with a huge variety of books including a large section of art books, poetry, history, philosophy, music, et cetera. Residents are welcome to make use of these books during their stay and most of the books are also for sale for those who wish to take them home. There is a pottery wheel and a kiln, a few simple easels, a draughting table, as well as many tables and work surfaces. For the scientifically minded or naturalists, microscopes can also be made available. Internet & wifi is available in the main building. Projectors, both slide and digital are available. There are many tools and materials available on site that residents have access to. There are a couple of old upright pianos as well as a beautiful pipe organ. Residents who have specific requirements are asked to identify these in the application process so that the organizers can ensure anyone who comes will have what they need.
Parrsboro is a small community with a population of around 1000 and is home to a summer theatre, a geological museum, and an historical museum. It is also famed for its annual gem and mineral show which has been happening for over 50 years and has been the site of some important fossil finds. The Parrsborough shore has some of the highest tides on the planet. The area is well known for its geological treasures (fossils, precious stones), magnificent vistas, and it's great walking beaches.