Maud Lewis house project picking up steam

Published on April 21, 2014

Wendy Majestic, coordinator of the Maud Lewis house project, checks out the “Maudified” house on the Mariners Centre property.



By Eric Bourque



Look for more “Maudified” houses to appear in the Yarmouth area as the Friends of Yarmouth Art Gallery work towards an official launch of the houses next month.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, May 24, from 2 to 4 p.m.

As of April 14 – the day after two of the houses were completed (one at the Mariners Centre, the other at the Yarmouth visitor information centre) – project coordinator Wendy Majestic said they were still working on details regarding the launch.

“We hope to have the mayor come and cut the ribbon and things like that,” she said, adding that the plan is to walk around and visit Maudified houses in the downtown area, likely ending at Alma Square, where one of the houses is to be placed and where refreshments will be available on the day of the launch.

Organizers wanted to hold the event on a day there was no school – given that students from Plymouth School are doing one of the houses – and so the launch will take place on a Saturday.

“We wanted as many families to come out as possible to see (the houses) and there are also new exhibits at the art gallery too, so it’s an opportunity to showcase those also,” Majestic said.

The Maud Lewis house project is a fundraiser that will help support the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s western branch while celebrating Lewis, the renowned folk artist who was born in South Ohio and who lived in Yarmouth before moving to Marshalltown, Digby County. She died in 1970 at the age of 67.

Eleven small houses are to be built as part of the project and they will be placed in various locations for a few months. The plan is to hold an auction Sept. 14 at Th’YARC, where 10 of the houses will be auctioned off and one will be given to someone through a raffle.

Organizers hope to have the last of the houses set up by May 7, about a week behind the initial timetable, Majestic said, but still in time for the start of the new ferry.

She is very happy with the way the project has gone, she said.

“We have this core group of volunteers that, when we need to assemble or we need to paint, they come out,” she said. “They’re just amazing.”

They’re working on a brochure, she said, and there will be a map game, “just to make it a little bit of fun and to encourage people to go and see all the houses.”

She says the Yarmouth area is fortunate to have a strong artistic community, members of whom have embraced the Maud Lewis house project.

“Some of them have spent 60 to 90 hours on these houses,” she said.

What she’s heard from the artists is that, yes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s also been fun.

“They’re having a good time,” she said.