Cape Breton, as an economically underdeveloped island, sees considerable out-migration as a result of job scarcity. Cheticamp stands at the Northwestern corner of Cape Breton in the foothills of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. A small Acadian fishing village, it is also home to folk art galleries that sell the creations of Cape Breton artists to both tourists and locals.
This presentation will examine a folk art gallery and its accompanying cafe as a case study of how artists in rural areas infuse local spaces with cultural significance and economic value. In doing so, the gallery also received substantial attention from outside the community, as the main artist is regularly featured in tourism advertisements. The bakery attached to the gallery offers a place for social interaction amongst locals and tourists thus acting as a maintainer and strengthener of community bonds. While the gallery is a place of business, it is also a center for community. The creations sold at the gallery reflect local art aesthetics, style and taste while appealing to wealthy tourist patrons. This ethnographic study of space and place in a rural area will address issues of identity, tourism and community.
North Atlantic Forum 2011: Culture Place and Identity at the Heart of Regional Development