“Our Island Home”

“Our Island Home” Interpretive Center was unique in the world for its subject and content, and because it uses art and artists in a new way. Art is used here to affect visitors; to provoke an interest in this unique island; to promote its best inherent features, and to give a basis for understanding this special place.

This exhibit’s uniqueness was a result, first of all, of the intent of province’s project development team to have a different kind of exhibit. They hired a team that could best perform the work, demonstrated their faith in the artists’ vision by approving the concept and design without any alteration, and then helped the vision succeed by removing barriers to its realization. This in itself is a unique approach in projects of this kind. Terry and Lionel Stevenson, the designers, thank them on behalf of the arts community and artists everywhere.

The design being approved, Jim Pitcher was hired as project manager. He had managed the production of a previous exhibit designed by the Stevensons, and he made a vital contribution to this project. His background in fine art and architecture, as well as his people skills, made him ideally suited to dealing with artists, fabricators of exhibits, architects, tradesmen, and the business aspects of art.

The designers, having lived in P.E.I. for many years, had accumulated many impressions of the Island, and had learned much of its history and folklore. Their knowledge, combined with a belief in the Island as, “the best place in the world in which to live”, fuelled the vision that is presented here. The beauty of the Island, its culture, and the character of the people were ample material to fill the exhibit space.

A project such as this demands the cooperation of many people. Most exhibits were inspired by conversations about the island. A list of everyone who contributed would always omit someone. We thank all contributors for their help, and specifically the tradesmen:- the electricians, dry-wallers, carpenters, etc., whose impressive skills made a contribution that is invisible to almost everyone. Seeing the pride in their eyes, to be part of this project, was very rewarding.

“Our Island Home” Interpretive Center concept and design is the creation of Island artists Terry Dunton Stevenson and Lionel Stevenson. It is one of the most unusual interpretive exhibits anywhere. The difference is that both Terry and Lionel are accomplished fine artists as well as graphic designers. Besides fulfilling the interpretive requirements, they have injected a deeper level of artistic value to practically every inch of the space.

Terry and Lionel's concept seeks to distil the essence of the Island and present in a way that provokes visitors to explore the special character of PEI. Three inter-related means are used to communicate with visitors: by concept, whereby visitors are affected emotionally and subliminally-stimulating them to look at PEI with “new eyes”; by information, whereby an understanding of the natural and cultural heritage, as well as present-day life, is encouraged; and by interactive means, allowing visitors to participate in a fun way with the exhibit rather than by being passive spectators.

In order to execute their creative vision, Terry and Lionel assembled a unique team of artists and crafts people of Prince Edward Island. There were over twenty Island artists responsible for the creation of various components of the exhibit.

After ten years, the exhibit was destroyed, to be replaced by a gift shop.

Client: Tourism Prince Edward Island