Alison Beaumont moved to Lake Country from the U.K. over 10 years ago and she more than understands the importance of strong community relationships.
With little family in the area, artist Beaumont said she has had to rely on the kindness of strangers, her neighbours and her community.
“I can’t describe how phenomenal the support is in this community,” Beaumont said.
“Being an immigrant, I have always valued my neighbours and community and I am so thankful that I have their support on a daily basis,” she said.
Now, as a sign of her appreciation and to show the rest of Canada the incredible support from residents in Lake Country, Beaumont has applied for a Telus Storyhive Production grant worth $50,000 which would allow her to extend her work about women in the community.
“The idea was they wanted local documentaries about local people that have a local feel to them,” she said. “So, I thought this was a really great way to continue this project and give back to Lake Country.”
She created a series of portraits with short interviews with women in the area for an exhibition at the Lake Country Art Gallery called Welcome to the Neighbourhood. Her short vignettes were a varied collection of perspectives about what community means to women in Lake Country.
“Everyone involved was super excited about it,” she said. So she jumped at the opportunity to extend her project when the Storyhive grant became available.
Her project is currently in the voting stage of the grant process. She hopes her Neighbours project will be one of the 30 selected from Alberta and B.C. Votes can be cast until Friday, May 31, online at storyhive.com.
“We all have a part to play (as neighbours), and through the work I did in the previous project, the realization while listening to everyone’s stories is we all have a common connection and if we had more time to spend with each other, it would enrich our lives even more,” Beaumont said.
“We’re all busy being busy,” she said. “It’s just so great to hear how much we appreciate each other, but how we crave more time with each other.”
If selected, she and her seven-year-old son — who moonlights as her creative staff and film crew — will turn their collection of interviews into a full-length documentary.
“I really want to show other women you don’t have to be somebody that has come from a film school background to make a film about community,” she said. “Anything is possible.”
“I also really want to set a good example for my son.”
Beaumont has another art exhibition called Discourse that will open at Kelowna’s Alternator Gallery on June 21.