Northumberland Arts Council
The Northumberland Arts Council is a registered charity dedicated to promoting and sustaining arts and crafts on the North Shore. Its 15-member volunteer board manages The Fraser and its programs and events. The Northumberland Arts Council relies on its dedicated members to deliver on its mission.
The Fraser - Then and Now
The Fraser owes its existence, and its name to Lillian Fraser. Born in Earltown in 1869, Lillian Fraser enjoyed a successful nursing career in the “Boston States”. She was the Nurse Superintendent at a number of hospitals, including Fenway Hospital in Boston and at one time she owned the Audubon Hospital in Massachusetts. Needing a refuge, she built a small vacation home on Main Street in Tatamagouche for herself and her sister, Maggie.
Ms. Fraser died in 1942 and willed the property to the Village of Tatamagouche. The home was used by the school board for domestic science classes. Then, at the end of the Second World War, the building was transformed into a 7-bed Red Cross Outpost Hospital. Volunteers scraped off the wall paper and painted the walls white. The floors were laid with war surplus dark brown linoleum.
Lillian Fraser’s former dining room and kitchen became a labour room and nursery. Patients were housed in other main floor rooms. The upstairs were used as nursing quarters and the basement accommodated the laundry and kitchen – where the nurses washed the linens and prepared the food. The Fraser’s life as a hospital ended in 1968, with the opening of the Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital.
In 1969, Margaret Colburn, the last Matron of the Red Cross Hospital, and a group of determined volunteers were responsible for the next incarnation of The Fraser as a non-profit seniors’ residence. In 1974, the residence was registered as Willow Lodge and moved to a new facility in 1980.
In 1981, the Northumberland Arts Council was founded as a society. Lillian Fraser’s former home came under its auspices and became the Fraser Cultural Centre – with a focus on arts on Nova Scotia’s North Shore.
The Fraser, as it has become, is now a bright and welcoming gallery space. The lobby was recently transformed into the Gallery Shop offering fine local arts and crafts displayed in a bright light space.
If you have never been to the Fraser, or if it has been awhile, come in and see us now!