When MLA Peter Guthrie made the decision to keep his Railway Street campaign office and transform it into his Cochrane constituency office, he wanted to find a solution to make the spot truly feel like ‘home’.
The Cochrane-based MLA and his constituency assistant found a novel way to do so, all while building buzz for local culture. The walls, tables and furniture of the publicly-accessible office are now covered in high-end pieces from some of Cochrane’s best artistic talents.
“We are proud to have local artists display their talent in our constituency office,” said Guthrie.
“It really adds life to the space, and we want to encourage people to come by and enjoy these creations.”
On display are bronze pieces, modern art, landscapes, and, of course, plenty of those western heritage pieces that Cochrane is so well known for.
“We wanted to give back to the community, and thought one way would be to showcase our local artists,” said constituency assistant Carole Vallet.
“We are not able to physically sell anything from this office of course, but we can direct them to the artist.”
Contact information for all the artists are available by their pieces at the office, and Cochranites can then procure the pieces from the artists themselves.
While there’s nothing being sold by the MLA’s office, it’s almost like Cochranites can get their holiday shopping done while voicing their provincial concerns: Cochrane artists also have on display high-end (but affordable) gifts like modern woodworking candle holders and carved bone pens and razors. Even Roy Genung, father of mayor Jeff Genung, has some intricately-crafted jewelry boxes carved from exotic woods on display.
“I’d like to get as much traffic through here, and I want our consitituents to know where our MLA office, where their MLA is. I want them to come in,” Vallet added.
“It’s always good to come in and see your MLA. When he’s in the [Edmonton’s Legislature] house, it’s really hard for people to just walk in and meet him. If he’s in the office like he was this afternoon and you walk in, he’ll definitely come out and meet you.”
Guthrie’s office is located at 60 Railway Street, next door to Kal Tire.
“He’s in Fridays usually, because the [Legislature] sits Monday through Thursday and then he comes home Thursday night, so he’s in the office on Fridays,” said Vallet.
“They can ask us any questions they have, if they have any questions or concerns about their constituency that the MLA can help with, we would be more than happy to accommodate that.”
The pair would like to hear from anyone who has an idea on how their art program might be able to expand or grow.
“We’re open to any suggestions,” said Vallet.
“It just got set set up, and we really wanted to promote it. If anyone has any suggestions of how we can build this up or expand on this idea, I’m open for anything like that.”