It's the art of reading and reading is art.
That's what Allan Wilson, chief librarian at the Prince George Public Library, believes.
The proof of that statement will be displayed in living colour Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Prince George Public Library, where the official launch of the Literacy Art Calendar takes place.
The project is a fundraising partnership between the library and The Prince George & District Community Arts Council.
The calendar images will be presented larger-than-life, in a gallery-style atmosphere at the launch, .
"From the idea being talked about in our office to the fruition of all of the beautifully done photography in the final product -- I am so excited for the public to see it," said Wendy Young, executive director of the Community Arts Council. "We have been privy to the process but when someone walks in and is confronted with all the imagery -- I hope they're as excited as we are."
Community leaders volunteered to be the living canvases as local artists created literacy-themed art upon their faces.
"I love the theme of literacy and how the artists took it to its limits, each one interpreting it differently based on who their model was," said Young. "I love it. All the models are so excited. All the artists are so excited and to watch it all happen was absolutely fantastic."
The library board has been trying to strengthen local partnerships.
"We were really lucky when a wonderful organization (the Community Arts Council) walked in the door and said we want to partner with you and we have an idea," said Wilson. "And what a great idea it was. The arts calendar takes the idea out of the box. It makes it very much an art calendar that you want for its beauty but it's also playful in the sense that it's highlighting local community leaders and it makes them wonderfully attractive using our local artists and encouraging reading and dialogue. It's genuinely about the art of reading."
Alex Moffat, of Alex Zander Photography, is the photographer who captured the images seen in the calendar.
"Photography isn't any different than any other form of art," said Moffat. "There's an artistic process you go through in order to produce the image that works. You just don't sit down and have your photo taken and get up and leave. You have to establish a relationship with that person and they have to be comfortable with you and you have to get their guard down and create an interaction all while adjusting lights and moving things around and thinking creatively in your head and being aware that this scenario isn't working and how can I adjust this person to get something that will work, meanwhile still paying attention to the subject and interacting with them. It's a huge process to go through and while you're doing all that you're taking pictures always looking for something in that person that will be portrayed in that image."
The image needs to showcase each person, offering a glimpse of their personality, added Moffat.
"From Stuart Ballantine, who is a very big, very burly man and here's this gentle image of him with his eyes closed, to Dr. Osei, public health officer, who is painted with the world on his face and if he could save every single person in the world, he would, and I took the photo of him looking up with hope in his eyes, to Colleen Sparrow, who was put in a very vulnerable position and had to trust me to maintain her integrity," Moffat explained. "Each person put a great deal of faith in me in doing this project and I was happy to do it."
There are 3,000 calendars for sale with proceeds going to programs at the public library and the Community Arts Council, with the option of a second run. There's a pre-sale option until Monday, and all calendars that are pre-sold will be signed by the artists. Calendars are $25 each and can be ordered at the library by calling 250-563-9251 or at the Community Arts Council by calling 250-563-2880.