Kitimat bids a fond farewell to popular local artist and Kitimat arts champion Eileen Hutson who is moving with husband Bill to Fraser Lake.
Since arriving in Kitimat in 1980 with Bill, Eileen has been a very active leader in the visual arts community. As a founding member in the Kitimat Art Club, she became involved in annual painting workshops and worked diligently with the club as member, planner, treasurer, and president.
The Kitimat Arts Council was built on Eileen’s energy and hosted Northwest Juried Art shows in 1993 and 1994. At the Kitimat Museum & Archives, Eileen’s energy and enthusiasm was there as a member of the Museum Board, with the installation of the annual regional art shows, and to participate with her art.
The Museum hosted two of Eileen’s art exhibitions — the first called “Experienced Freak” with her gifted daughter Erin in the Fall of 2002 and the second, “Scraps & Scribbles” in the Winter 2009-2010.
Eileen will be remembered most around here for her constant force and enthusiasm in sharing her talents to teach others. Over 20 years she has been a Visual Arts Instructor for both the Kitimat Museum & Archives and Riverlodge. Programs facilitated by Eileen have inspired the lives of so many beginning artists, both young and old.
Thousands of Kitimat students will remember their own experiences with the lessons Eileen taught through Museum in the Classroom Art Workshops since 1998. Eileen would come into the classroom and, thanks to her adaptable teaching skills, could engage students in trying new media and achieving personal success in art. Because the themes and techniques each year were so varied, they presented new challenges and experiences at all levels.
What a special moment of glory it was for those who rarely received recognition for their academic efforts to shine when their classroom masterpieces were completed, and hidden, creative and artistic talents were revealed. Every year these masterpieces were exhibited in the schools, at City Centre Mall and in the Museum to be enjoyed by the whole community.
The legacy that Eileen leaves behind can be seen as massive mural projects some of which can be seen at Kildala, Roy Wilcox, and Nechako Elementary schools, in the lounge at Mountain View Lodge and in the many stored props from her involvement with On Cue Players, Dry Grad, and various theatre productions at MESS. She was also an active volunteer with Kitimat Arts for Youth and led participants in expressing movement through art for Dance Impressions, Kitimat Dance. Eileen was involved in many community organizations including the Baptist Church where she showed leadership, patience and kindness in supporting and helping others.
The community will feel a great loss with Eileen’s departure from Kitimat. She leaves knowing that she accomplished so much by sharing her creative passion and inspiring so many. All the groups for which she has been affiliated have honoured her these last few weeks and have wished her continuing success in her new community of Fraser Lake. She will be forever thanked for the colourful footprint she leaves behind in Kitimat.
– Sue Jay and Louise Avery