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For our NAC Member of the Moment series, we asked Niagara Artists Centre members about art in Niagara and the number one reason to join the NAC. In this interview, Laurie Morrison tells us about why she became a NAC member, a successful bid for art, and how her first time “entering into the building” for STRUTT, NAC’s wearable art show, was “like leaving St. Catharines through a back door into some magical playground of delicious sights and sounds.”

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.

Laurie Morrison lives in downtown St. Catharines. She was born and raised in Niagara Falls. After finishing high school in the mid 1980s, she moved to Hamilton to work for the Canadian Red Cross. She left that job in 1994 to pursue an undergraduate degree in linguistics at McMaster University. She was involved in many local social justice issues while living in Hamilton, including managing a GBTL community help line, volunteering with the needle exchange van, and teaching English to new Canadians. In the late 1990s, Laurie started working at the Hamilton Public Library. The encouragement of many librarians led Laurie to library school at the University of Western Ontario where she earned a Masters in Library Science. As luck should have it, Brock University was looking for an entry level librarian shortly after she completed her studies at Western. Laurie was successful in obtaining a position as a Humanities Librarian and moved to St. Catharines in 2006. She is a great supporter of both the downtown and the arts community in St. Catharines – as she notes, “this town is a hidden gem, and the word is getting out so enjoy it while it remains our own private secret!” Laurie is an advocate of the many benefits to be found in a plant-based (vegan) lifestyle, and this interest led her to co-found Niagara VegFest, an annual festival now in its fourth year.

When did you become a NAC member and why?
I became a member of the NAC about two years ago after attending the Small Feats art show and STRUTT. I really enjoyed both events so much and wanted to support the organization that was the brains behind them.

Are you an artist, an art appreciator or both?
I am a simple art appreciator. I also appreciate that St. Catharines has such an amazing and engaged organization like the NAC. It adds so much to the city.

Name a Niagara artist whose work knocks your socks off.
Carrie Perreault’s work does more that knock my socks off – it knocks me upside the head and then sometimes onto my butt. The first time I saw her work was at a silent auction for Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. I was lucky enough to be the successful bidder on two of her works that now hang in my living room. Her work is thought-provoking, emotional, and highly personal.

Tell us about a memorable NAC experience.
The 2011 STRUTT at the Tyler Building was jaw-dropping. Entering into the building felt like leaving St. Catharines through a back door into some magical playground of delicious sights and sounds.

What’s the number one reason to become a NAC member?
It is a great way to stay in touch with the heartbeat of what is happening in the St. Catharines arts and culture community. If something cool is happening, the NAC will surely have a hand in it.

Check back for more Member of the Moment on the NAC blog.