Linda Tame has always leaned towards the artistic side of life.
While raising her five children as a stay-at-home mother, the Brandonite found a little bit of time to dabble with the creative aspect of her personality. Back then, she would crochet, journal or write fiction.
After spending a few years as a receptionist with the YMCA and at the Brandon Regional Health Centre – alongside fulfilling a penchant for travel – her youngest son Jordan, now 35, suggested she join him in Brandon University’s Fine Arts program.
“That really brought my heart back into the arts,” said the grandmother of 12, who is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts.
“I’ve always encouraged the kids to be involved in the arts. (Jordan) and I have enjoyed creating together. He knew it would be something I’d love.”
A decade later – motivated by both her own passion for art and the people involved – Tame has rented commercial space at 1108 Rosser Avenue in Brandon to develop a cooperative gallery and studio. She is currently using the facility for her own work, but is also displaying paintings by fellow area artists. The gallery is open from 2 to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
After obtaining the location in September, the Artist Heart Studio and Gallery officially opened early this month. Its grand opening featured the work of six visual artists, including her own.
“I got the keys for the space on Sept. 1 and didn’t really open it up then,” she said. “Basically, it’s my working studio. I just go there and paint. But in mid-September, the (Downtown) Cruise Night was on and it just seemed like a good idea to put some paintings up. That’s kind of when I really opened the gallery.”
Establishing the studio and gallery has been a long-term goal for Tame. Her ultimate dream is to have an artist-run gallery with a studio that has room for several artists to work in the same space. Her current facility only has 300-square-feet of space, too small for what she has in mind.
“This is a baby-step towards what I’d like to see happen,” she said.
Tame does not consider the opening of the gallery a “career” move. Outside of the arts, she owns and manages rental properties on a part time basis. Her work at the gallery is based purely on her adoration of creativity. Even the name of the enterprise establishes her ideal of art as a communal endeavor.
“Everyone has creativity in them and I want to encourage creativity, whether people claim to be an artist or not.” – Linda Tame
“I believe the artist’s heart is a collective. It’s like we’re one heart,” she said. “I would love to draw artists together. I love the community of artists; our conversations; the way we think. My poetry professor, Di Brandt, says that, sometimes, artists are people out there on the edge. I think we are because we’re reaching out beyond everyday things to find unique ways of communicating with others that have the same outlook. It’s a very special bond.”
This bond does not just reside within artists, she adds.
“Everyone has creativity in them and I want to encourage creativity, whether people claim to be an artist or not.”
Tame is still trying to discover her own way of communicating artistically. She has used her Fine Arts education to explore different ideas and mediums to find her voice.
“Primarily, my heart’s desire – which is a challenge for me – is to paint things you can’t see. I love emotionally driven artists who want to paint love, sorrow, tragedy and other emotions from the inside,” she said.
“My mom introduced me to painting. She did a lot of landscapes, something I didn’t enjoy so much. I have nothing against that. Landscapes can be gorgeous, but they’re not enough for me. I have to paint a picture with some conceptual meaning in it.”
Basically, she wants to paint and write while encouraging others to explore their own creativity. Attending BU has allowed her to do that later in life than others. She appreciates what the school has done for her.
“I was delighted to find out the university offers very good breaks to senior citizens. Once you’re over 60, you get a very good rate on tuition, which makes it wonderful for seniors to go back to school and enjoy learning again,” she said.
“I have absolutely loved being with the students and the university has a fabulous program. I love it. It’s going to be hard to leave. I’ve been juggling everything around, spreading it out over about 10 years, but it’s been great.”