Art is FABulous in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere

by Anita Jansman

The Frontenac Arch Biosphere (FAB) is ridge of ancient granite that joins the Adirondack Mountains and the Canadian Shield. See this map to learn its location. The FAB offers a landscape of stunning, rugged natural beauty dotted with numerous historic villages and towns, each with their own identity and charm. This significant natural and cultural heritage is designated by the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program and is one of 16 UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in Canada.

Within this region of eastern Ontario lives a burgeoning arts community, numbering more than 700 artists of all kinds, from painters to photographers to musicians and writers. Louise Mantha has taken on a project, as part of the FAB Network, “to foster a vibrant and viable community of artists and to make the FAB region a celebrated arts destination.”

It’s a tall order but Louise has a lot of confidence, both in the artists who live there and in the natural beauty and cultural interest of the region, which already draws thousands of people each year to the 1000 Islands and the Rideau Canal, a designated World Heritage Site.

Louise points to a program called Hand Made in America, which began in Western North Carolina to grow the economy through arts and crafts, as an example of what can be done with enough ingenuity and determination. The program now “contributes almost $200 million to the economy in the state.”

As a truly grassroots organization, FAB Arts is making headway, relying on a team of volunteers to stage a juried craft show in Delta in 2010, and in Brockville, a juried art exhibit in 2012, as well as showcase local authors during the 2013 Culture Days.

A former educator and businesswoman, Louise now finds there’s enough to keep her “out of retirement” from her home near Lower Beverly Lake. She’s a dedicated painter, is a member of the Rideau Lakes Arts Association, and is wholly committed to FAB Arts. She invites artists in the region and those in surrounding regions (now known as the Greater Biosphere Region) to get involved.

FAB has created a booklet called FAB Experiences, which outlines the local food experience, trails in the region, and cultural events. Artists are encouraged to join in this widely-distributed directory, and by doing so, they will be included in the FAB Arts database, which offers a number of benefits. Please email for more information about this excellent opportunity.

Please visit the Frontenac Arch Biosphere website for more information. 


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