Who Was … Anna Templeton?

Credit: NL Women's Institutes, Collection 166
Her unparalleled contribution to craft education in NL was honoured, just a year before her death in 1994, by the College of the North Atlantic.

The Anna Templeton Centre on Duckworth Street is a vibrant incubator of local arts, particularly visual and textile work, where qualified instructors pass traditional disciplines onto new generations.

But what about its namesake, Anna herself?  Like the centre named after her, Anna was endlessly committed to advancing and celebrating the arts and craft culture of the province. Yet her education almost led her down a different path: she earned a pre-science degree from Memorial when Memorial was but a college.

Upon her return home from MacDonald College in Montreal, she became the Organizing Secretary of the Jubilee Guilds of Newfoundland and Labrador. The job allowed her to pursue a lifelong involvement in craft development throughout the province. Traveling alone to countless rural communities, she taught isolated women a variety of arts and craft, spreading the skills and arts like fire across the island.

In the 1930s and 40s, it was deemed atypical (badass or strange depending on your inclinations) for a single, young townie woman to do such a thing unaccompanied. It’s what made her a legend. By 1965, she was supervisor of the Department of Education’s “Craft Training Division.”

Her unparalleled contribution to craft education in NL was honoured, just a year before her death in 1994, by the College of the North Atlantic. They named their Anna Templeton Centre after her in 1994, to house their textile Studies program The building now does what she did: it carries on the many traditions of art making she devoted her life to.

The building came long after Templeton was awarded the prestigious Centinenial Medal in 1967, for her relentless enthusiasm to inspire rural women to adopt new skills and knowledge in the arts.

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