After 27 years of giving to the Yukon’s artistic community, local potter Patrick Royle is now in a position to receive.
Last week, Royle suffered a series of debilitating heart attacks and now local artists and friends have banded together to offer their time and their talents to help Royle and his family.
Yukon Artists @ Work will host a fundraiser for Royle Thursday evening at its McCrae gallery from 5 to 9 p.m.
As one of the founding members of Yukon Artists @ Work, Royle wanted to create a community of artists that helped each other out, said society member Harreson Tanner.
“If an artist was in trouble through no fault of their own, then the community could band together and help them out,” said Tanner.
Royle had been looking at the creation of an artist-relief fund.
“So it’s rather ironic that he’s going to be the first to benefit from it,” Tanner added.
Last Wednesday the local potter was driving into Whitehorse from his home near Marsh Lake when he started having chest pains.
Royle recognized the sign and drove himself to the Whitehorse General Hospital.
Doctors confirmed he had suffered a heart attack and was having another while in hospital.
Hospital gave him blasters to clear his arteries; they lowered his heart rate to 26 beats per minute and finally managed to stabilize him.
A few days later, staff were able to secure a bed in Vancouver and Royle was medevaced south for treatment.
On Saturday, he had an angiogram and an angioplasty to open the blocked artery.
Now he’s taking a variety of medications, but he’s on his way home, said Tanner.
As a husband, father, teacher and friend, Royle has been there for every cause and for everybody, said Tanner.
A 20-year veteran of teaching potting in local schools, almost every kid in the Yukon has made some kind of a pot in his class.
Royle was one of the first artists Tanner met when he moved to Whitehorse five years ago.
They quickly became like family.
So Tanner was one of the first to step up and organize the event to help Royle and his family.
“He’s not going to be able to pot for a long time.
“There’s a lot of pressure on his wife right now.”
Royle, born in 1951 in Banff, Alberta, began his career as a pastry chef.
His high school art teacher wouldn’t let him throw pottery because of his “lack of aptitude.”
In 1980, he moved to Whitehorse and became a founding member of the Whitehorse Potters Guild.
Last month, Royle’s Fireweed production line was recognized as one of Canada’s best pottery series at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto.
The fundraiser runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday evening at the Yukon Artists @ Work Gallery in McCrae.
It will also mark Yukon Artists @ Work’s fourth anniversary.
BJ McLean, Steve Slade and others will play at the event.
Many local companies and individuals have donated items for a silent auction.
Donations can be made at the Arts Underground on Main Street, or at the Yukon Artists @ Work Gallery.