Published: November 23, 2016
BY JILL WOOLLEY
Locals looking to visit an art gallery don’t need to travel far. For the next five weeks, art from 19 artists will be on display in the second annual Red Lake Art Show.
At the show’s opening night on Nov. 17, an estimated 115 people were treated to live music from the six-person ensemble Strings N’Such, as well as refreshments donated by IGA. There are 45 original entries on display in the exhibit gallery at the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre (RLRHC), including paintings, photographs, pencil drawings, sculptures and quilts.
Throughout the evening, there was a loud buzz of chatter from visitors mingling in the gallery room discussing details of the pieces and admiring the talent. “It’s been fun listening to people talk,” said Edna Aiken. “A lot of people are surprised to see so much talent locally.”
With permission, Aiken submitted three pieces from her personal collection. The works produced by her daughter, Wendy Hansen, attracted attention from a number of observers.
One of Hansen’s pieces titled Autumn Colours stood out for Sheilagh Banfield. “I like the fall leaves with beautiful colours and the dappled background.” Banfield was amazed with the skill of the artists in the show. “[The works] are so beautiful and varied,” she said.
The show is a joint project between the RLRHC and the Red Lake Arts Council. RLAC Chair Janet Hager said the planning for this show began in February.
Hager estimates one-third of the participants have returned from last year. She said many local artists came out to last year’s show and were motivated to submit their work this year. The show is a great opportunity for “closet artists”, who Hagar described as those doing art in their own home, to present their work to a larger audience.
One new participant is painter Valerie Blab. She has been painting since she was a child, but has only recently returned to her hobby. She has three watercolour pieces on display in the gallery and is hoping to gain more exposure for her work with a goal of doing her art as a business.
Artists may choose to sell their pieces, but are not permitted to remove the piece until the end of the show. Many artists already have other works for sale in the gift shop.
All of the artists live in Red Lake or have a connection to the town. Madsen native, artist Patrick Hunter travelled from his home in Toronto to be at the opening. He said there was no question whether he would enter one of his original paintings.
Hunter credits the RLRHC with helping to promote his work. “They’ve been so good to me,” he said, “I really love Red Lakers. They are they biggest supporters of my work.”
Organizers and participants are already looking ahead to future shows. “I want it to progress to an art show that artists from all over Northwestern Ontario want to be part of,” said Hunter.
The show runs until Dec. 23. Regular museum admission fees apply.
(seen above) Edna Aiken points to the details in artists Rhonda Beckman’s painting titled 105. Artwork from nineteen artists with local connections will be on display at the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre until Dec. 23.