Meet the Faces Behind NFOTA: Cynthia Reyes

We commit an act of art when we use our imagination to create something new that tells a story the creator needs to tell.–Cynthia Reyes

Cynthia Reyes

Who are you?

I’m a mom, a new grandmother, and wife of a man who cooks, cycles, takes great photos and tells funny jokes. Thank God I’m a better gardener or there’d be nothing for me to feel superior about in this household.

I write short stories and books, after a career in television. My writing is informed by my imagination, but also experience: family life—in both Jamaica and Canada; my work across Canada as a senior CBC journalist and executive producer of children’s television programs; in S. Africa, where I led the Canadian team helping our colleagues there to improve the country’s television journalism after apartheid; and in Europe, as Secretary General for INPUT (an international public TV organization).

Why do you believe in the Northumberland Festival of the Arts?

The county is an area of outstanding natural beauty, known for its picturesque hills, lakes, small towns and farms. Less known, perhaps, is that Northumberland also teems with creativity. Artists and art lovers of all kinds have flocked here, and there’s an abundance of art throughout the county. It’s therefore the perfect place for an event like NFOTA. The festival is firmly rooted in the community. It brings together creative people of all kinds under one umbrella, shines a light on their creations, and invites everyone to meet and share in a warm, friendly and dynamic environment.

Any passions and talents you want to share?

First, my granddaughter – watching her develop from newborn to toddler. Every change is fascinating. Second, Nature, because it still amazes me. Third, my garden and my writing, which are soul food for me. All of these are connected to my relationship with God, which is constantly undergoing improvement.

What are your roots or groups – connections in the community

My family has had homes in Northumberland going back decades. I still remember getting curious (but not unfriendly) looks when our family showed up at events or local stores, etc. in Warkworth and Baltimore but if anyone was unwelcoming to us (being the only visibly Black family there), we never noticed. We became part of the community and made strong friendships, which endure today.

I’m honoured to be part of the Northumberland Festival of the Arts, The Art Gallery of Northumberland and Spirit of the Hills Arts Association, while supporting other organizations, businesses and local artists and farmers every chance I get.

What does “art” mean to you?

We commit an act of art when we use our imagination to create something new that tells a story the creator needs to tell. If we’re lucky, it’s a story that touches others in some way. For me, gardening and writing are art forms, as are building a canoe, sculpting a figure, painting a picture or creating a magnificent dish. But let’s stop right there, because I’m an abject failure at the culinary arts. My efforts never tell the stories I want to tell, and when we invite friends and family to dinner, everyone asks (and rightly so): “Who’s cooking?”

Cynthia with her family

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Cynthia writes that she’s honoured to be part of the Northumberland artistic community — and we here are extremely lucky, and honoured too, that this talented woman is so involved with the festival and the arts in general here!

  2. Thank you, Marie-Lynn.

  3. I love this quote. And Cynthia’s wonderful sense of humour.
    “We commit an act of art when we use our imagination to create something new that tells a story the creator needs to tell.” –Cynthia Reyes
    Blessings – Wendy Mac 🕊️

    1. Thank you for reading and leaving this comment, Wendy. And for liking my sense of humour too!

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