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June is Membership Month at the Niagara Artists Centre. We asked NAC members about art in Niagara and the number one reason to join the NAC. In this interview, artist Laurie Boese tells us about NAC in the ’80s, NAC and nature, and why it’s great to be part of the NAC community: “Crazy people energy. The good crazy.”

Sign up for your very own NAC membership online or stop by NAC at 354 St. Paul Street in St. Catharines during gallery hours to get your membership in person. Sign up in June, and your name will be entered in a draw for a Special STRUTT Wearable Art Weekend package that includes a pair of Curator’s Row tickets (front row seats) to the Saturday night runway show.

Laurie Boese has been teaching pottery, drawing, painting and science since he was 17.  A longtime downtown St. Catharines resident, past president of the NAC, and local artist, you might have seen his pictures decorating local cafes and restaurants.  Kids all through Niagara yell “Elbows” when he walks through grocery stores, movie theatres and elementary school hallways.

SMALLprintableKETCHUPJuly 5
 look for the Paint A Car station for the Downtown Classic Car Show sponsored by Miller’s Auto in front of the Niagara Artists Centre.  Laurie will be there helping kids cover a vehicle with finger paint before it heads off to the wrecker’s.

Take his drawing classes through the DSBN night classes in Beamsville or Port Colborne. Take his science classes or book him for a spectacular science show through Mad Science of NiagaraSend your little ones to his summer art and theatre camp at Carousel PlayersLook for his Action Figure Photography at The Sanctuary in Ridgeway for July and August.  The reception will be on Sunday afternoon, July 20.

When did you become a NAC member and why?
Back in high school, 1986 or so, my friends Chris Morris, Denis and Darren Keyes, Julie Wilson, and others, used to hang out at the NAC on St. Paul Street to see films. Rob MacMorine asked if I’d like to help paint the Main Gallery, and I said I would, and I did. The NAC had interesting things to do: maker-style workshops, as well as video and musical events.

Are you an artist, an art appreciator or both?
Both. I make, and teach. Lately I’ve been buying more.

What’s the best thing about being an artist in Niagara?
A very supportive community here. Halfway between Toronto and Buffalo, without the daily commute. Friday a couple of us are heading off to Buffalo for an art safari, and we’ll head off again in a couple of weeks for another. The rent I pay is crazy cheap, and the materials I need are as easy to get as I need.

Name a Niagara artist whose work knocks your socks off.
Pfft. Just one? I could knock myself out for not buying a Melanie MacDonald painting years ago. Edward Speers does some excellent stuff.

Tell us about a memorable NAC experience.
A little story Steve Remus published years ago, about a gas station attendant who’d been shot during a robbery. The attendant crawled towards a grassy bit so his last moments would be among at least a little bit of nature. Every moment counts even to the last. A bond with nature is a major thread running through the NAC membership.

What’s the number one reason to become a NAC member?
Crazy people energy. The good crazy.

Check back for more Member of the Moment interviews throughout June.