CUSS At Landfall: Building A Nexus To The National Art Scene

Mary MacDonald and Martin Poole, editors of CUSS Journal, have invited writers and artists to participate in a Landfall Trust Writing Residency at the Kent Cottage in Brigus this September.

Mary MacDonald and Martin Poole, editors of CUSS Journal, have invited writers and artists to participate in a Landfall Trust Writing Residency at the Kent Cottage in Brigus this September.

The two editors will also be giving a public talk on contemporary art interpretation at George Harris Church in Brigus today from 7:00-9:00pm.

The Landfall Trust of Brigus is a charitable organization that maintains an eleven-acre, provincial heritage site in the town of Brigus. The site includes a cottage that was originally owned by the famous American writer and illustrator, Rockwell Kent.

The Landfall Trust offers writing and artist residencies in Kent Cottage and organizes artist directed workshops and talks. CUSS Journal was selected to do a salon-style residency in the cottage for the final two weeks of September. MacDonald and Poole will be staying in the cottage for the full two weeks while other artists will be dropping in to work on contributions to journal.

Poole founded CUSS Journal, an online journal of contemporary art criticism, in December of 2015. Although he was living in Montreal at the time, he decided to base the publication in St. John’s as a way to expand the conversation about contemporary art in Newfoundland. Poole says the calibre of art writing coming out of Newfoundland and Labrador is excellent but there isn’t enough of it.

CUSS Journal aims to increase the volume of art criticism being published in the province. Poole explained that while the journal has been very Newfoundland focused so far, it will cover work by artists based all over Canada.

“I hope to build a nexus to the national scene, ” Poole said,  “If we write about other artists in Canada and those artists see pieces about Newfoundland in the same journal, it will give Newfoundland a bigger presence at the National level.”

MacDonald began working at the journal as a writer but recently took on the position of co-editor. She explained that an important part of the vision for CUSS Journal is that it discuss the work of independent artists, especially artists doing experimental work and artists working outside of galleries.

“Part of our mandate is to reach out to people who have good work coming out but aren’t getting any recognition,” Poole added.

MacDonald says that she has found it very inspiring to work on contemporary art criticism in a cottage that has housed so many artists and writers since it was built at the turn of the 18th century.

“It’s pretty neat to have that kind of site-specific connection to what we’re doing like two hundred years later,” MacDonald said about writing for CUSS Journal in Kent’s Cottage.

Poole was excited to find a large library in Kent’s Cottage, where he was able to do all of his research for the piece he is working on.

All of the work created during Cuss’ Landfall Trust Writing Residency will be published online on the CUSS Journal site and in a print publication called CUSS At Landfall. The editors are aiming to have the print publication available within in a month of the end of the residency.

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