Ashcroft Council agreed with artist Esther Darlington-MacDonald to help keep her collection at the Ashcroft Library intact by writing to the TNRD and requesting that they remain here.
“I want assurance that the art, which is the history of Ashcroft, will remain in Ashcroft,” Darlington-MacDonald told councillors at their Feb. 27 meeting.
She said she doesn’t mind if if is loaned out out to other libraries within the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) library system, but she would like the nine pieces to stay together and remain primarily in Ashcroft.
Council agreed to write to the TNRD aking for written assurance that the collection will remain in Ashcroft even though the artwork belongs to the TNRD.
If for some reason they cannot remain in the library, she would like to see them displayed in a building that is open to the public.
Coun. Jackie Tegart commended Darlington-MacDonald for her generosity in donating the paintings. “It’s really something for the art community and for our community,” she said.
Darlington-MacDonald started painting in 1959. Growing up in Winnipeg, she was encouraged by her mother who sent her to the Winnipeg School of Art every Saturday for lessons. By the time she was 12, she was selected to take lessons at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Since then, she has studied, taken classes and painted about 1,100 pieces.She continues to paint and Ashcroft streetscapes, such as those she has donated to the library, continue to be her favourite.
She moved to Ashcroft in 1973 and joined the Art Club. Not long after that, she donated the small collection to the Ashcroft Library.
“I love libraries, she says, adding that much of her knowledge comes from reading books in libraries.
“I’m addicted,” she admits. “One librarian told me, ‘When you come into the library, it’s like you’re coming into a church’.”
Darlington-MacDonald says she was part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony when the library building was opened in Ashcroft.
“I do revere them,” she says, “and I wanted to leave a legacy.”
She says nothing specific prompted her to write for assurance, but the people who worked for the TNRD when she donated her artwork are no longer there and she wants to make sure that current staff are aware of the original agreement.
“I’m concerned about the future of my collection in the library,” she says, “and I want to make sure it stays here.”
She wrote to TNRD and told them she was meeting with the Ashcroft Council to ask for their support and a letter, but she hasn’t heard back from them yet.
“I could see them dispersed,” she says of the nine works of art, shaking her head. “I would roll over in my grave if that were the case.”