EXPRESSION - Members of the Red Deer Arts Council have works featured in an exhibit called ‘Trains

Arts council members showcase works on Canada 150 theme

Exhibit in the Kiwanis Gallery until April 23rd

Red Deer Arts Council and Red Deer Public Library are featuring ‘Trains, Planes and Automobiles – Journeys From the Past and Into the Future’ – A Red Deer Arts Council Visual Arts Members’ Juried Exhibition, which runs in the Kiwanis Gallery through to April 23rd.

As part of Canada’s 150th this year, the visual arts committee of the Red Deer Arts Council invited visual arts members to get creative and participate in this show to share their stories of travel, their journeys, real or imagined, through their fine art and craft.

“Last year, we were looking ahead and thinking what we were going to do for our member show in 2017,” said Diana Anderson, the Council’s coordinator. “We were thinking also that it was Canada’s 150th anniversary – it was the only time in our exhibit schedule that we would have an opportunity to do something for that.”

Ultimately, they realized that Canada is – in a key way – about travel. Not just in terms of newcomers to the country settling from coast to coast, but also that Canadians love to head out and see their home and native land, too.

“We thought, let’s do something about travel!

“So how do you fit in that theme with the Canada 150? Basically, we were thinking about journeys. But not physical ones necessarily – they could a spiritual journey, a journey of the soul. Or a journey of going from coast to coast to coast. It could be journey through time – past, present and future.

“A journey of a person’s actual coming to Canada if the artist is an immigrant. Or it could be looking at the past through a grandparent’s eyes, for example.”

Other questions that members had – why do certain places inspire you more than others? Is your inspiration based on historical retrospectives or a dream of the future? Who do you see going with you as you journey or who do you visit?

The idea then went out to the members, and as Anderson pointed out, “What is interesting is how they have interpreted it.”

Each member could submit three pieces to a juried process. “We ended up with some really cool stuff. I’m really pleased with how this has turned out,” she said. “You never know what you are going to get.”

Each piece is also presented with an artist’s statement that gives some helpful context to the work.

“This show needed that kind of interpretation,” explained Anderson. “And I really think the statements help the public get into the piece with the artist, too.

“They’ve kind of let their imaginations go – but it’s also taken them back into their own history, and to think about what makes Canada special to them.”

Meanwhile, the Arts Council annual general meeting and ‘Where’s My Tribe?’ event runs March 16th at 6:30 p.m. in the Nickel Studio in the Memorial Centre.

Immediately following the AGM, the Council will also be hosting a ‘Where’s My Tribe?’ social from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. with a taste of the play 5 Women Wearing the Same Dress with Central Alberta Theatre.

Refreshments will be served and everyone is welcome to attend.

In the spring of 2010, three organizations, the Red Deer and District Allied Arts Council, Cultural Charter Partners of Red Deer and District, and the Cultural Development Association of Red Deer (Culture Link) merged to form the Red Deer Arts Council.

For Anderson, who has been so very integral to curating local art shows for many years, it’s a line of work that continually offers not only fresh, exciting challenges but a renewed and constant sense of inspiration as well.

“For me, it’s about my connections to the artists,” she said. “And coming to understand where they are coming from and what they are all about.

“So when I come in here, I not only see the artwork – I see the artist and I see my connection to the artist, and I see what they are all about. That connection to me makes every show different, and it makes every show strong.”

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com