Those who gathered at the Woodpile Carvings and Café for their morning cups of java over the years are no doubt familiar with Brown’s face.
She hasn’t strayed far from the former coffee shop. She’s working as the managing director and curator of the Rossignol Cultural Centre.
“My main focus will be to help Sherman Hines, who’s the spearhead behind this, to reestablish the museum on the track that it has been going,” says Brown.
Following some staff changes things at the museum became halted, but it’s time to bring things back, says Brown.
She says the building is more than just a museum.
“I’d like to use the space for things other than just housing this really amazing collection,” Brown says. “I’d like to see it become more of a hub of the community.”
One of her plans is to open a small café, which won’t serve food, just coffee. She and Hines hope to have the coffee shop running sometime in December.
“We’re hoping to create a nice circle of activity around the fact that there are all these things happening under one roof,” Brown says.
The building has space for lease, which Brown says she’s hoping to find a tenant for. The space is adaptable, she adds.
She says she would also like to offer some of the space to artisans who need somewhere to work. Another thought Brown had was an indoor, off-season farmers’ market.
“I’m really looking to the community to give me some input on how we can use the building,” she says.
The Rossignol Cultural Centre and Sherman Hines Museum of Photography will see new exhibits this summer. Brown says she would also like to approach the community and province to see what kinds of things people collect.
“What we’re hoping to do is really emphasize the fact that this building houses not just one man’s collection but is a place for other people to show off the things that they’re passionate about,” says Brown.
Another goal Brown has is to make building’s grounds to become more accessible to people. She says the grounds should be for everyone, whether or not people have paid to see the collection.
Part of her plan is to green the space and get a playground put in.
Brown says she would like people in the community to feel as though the centre is theirs.
“We have people from all over the world who come through and marvel at this collection and at this beautiful space that we created,” says Brown.
But she’s concerned people from Liverpool and the surrounding areas don’t know what the centre offers. She says the museum’s collection is world class and merits the community’s appreciation.
Brown began woodcarving in 1993. She also spent time in arts groups and was involved community organizations and events.
“I created a farmers’ market for an entire summer on the waterfront,” she says.
About six years ago, she opened the Woodpile Café, and that’s where much of her energy and time went.
Through spending time at the café, Brown met Hines, and the two became friends.
“I knew that (Hines) was interested in finding somebody local that had some experience with business but also with some arts background,” says Brown.
Hines was also looking for someone who knew people in the community. Brown fit the bill, and when the restaurant was in its final days, she and Hines spoke, and things fell together.
Though the two are running the centre equally, Brown is the face in the community.
Now that things are underway, Brown says she and Hines are hoping to get some new people for the board. A couple of people have already agreed to join Brown on the board of directors.
Brown says she is looking for more board members and volunteers. There won’t be a big time commitment, but she says she is looking for people interest in supporting and developing the Rossignol Cultural Centre.
“It’s a tough economic time,” she says, adding with limited funding, the museum industry faces economic challenges.
But Brown says it’s important for cultural hubs, like the Rossignol Centre, to work together.
Despite the fact economic times are difficult for people and businesses, Brown says there are things worth fighting for.
“Our local culture and history are important,” she says.