By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Oldman River Arts Club served as the host organization for the Alberta Community Art Clubs Association 2023 Southern Zone Art Show that was held on June 10-11 at the Taber Legion Hall.
“I’m proud and humbled by the overwhelming positive response,” said Tania Sprong, Vice-President of the Oldman River Arts Club. “We had people from Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Brooks, Picture Butte, Bow Island and from all corners of the MD attend the event. We were honoured to also have M.D. Councillors Miyanaga and DeGroot join us at the Gallery Reception. Councillor Miyanaga graciously opened the event on behalf of the M.D.”
The show, Sprong says, had over 44 pieces of art on display ranging from sculptures to watercolour, oil, and acrylic paintings on display.
“As this was a regional show, we had works from across southern Alberta,” Sprong said. “There (were) multiple artists in the show ranging from youth all the way through to our signature artists. Given the nature of the show, the public was able to see the progression of artistic skill and representation from beginner to signature. Our signature artists are experts in their craft, and most have had private public and gallery exhibits of their own. We had four signature artists participating in our zone show.”
Sprong says that the show was open to the public on Saturday, June 10 from 1 to 7 p.m. and on Sunday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Gallery Reception, Sprong says, was held on Saturday, June 10 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sprong adds that talented violinist Hanah Van Hal was also entertaining those in attendance.
“This was a juried art show,” Sprong says. “From our Facebook post: ‘Artists often work alone – pursuing their vision, honing their skills in private. Juried shows allow artists to see where we stack up with our peers, get feedback and knowledgeable critique on our work, and provide context for the art within a community. As such, juried shows can be a very important part of our artistic development, push us to hone our craft, and challenge us to see our art through the eyes of others.”
In addition to the public viewing, Sprong says, there was an Artist Critique session on the Sunday from 2-3 p.m.
“The Artist Critique session is a fascinating opportunity to learn the science behind the art and to gain insight into why a particular piece just ‘works’,” Sprong says. “One of our jurors did the art critique and it was very well received. There is a post about the critique process on our page. At this point, the art that was selected to move on will now go to the provincial level show in Camrose to undergo another jurying – after which the best of the best go on to the Alberta Spirit Show which is at the Kiwanis Gallery in Red Deer this year. There were 18 pieces in total that were selected to move on.”
Alberta Community Art Clubs Association itself, Sprong says, was formed in 1968 and promotes the arts in communities across the province.
“Though Oldman River Arts Club is a proud member of the Alberta Community Art Clubs Association, we are not limiting ourselves to Alberta Community Art Clubs Association events and see many opportunities for showcasing the arts within our region,” Sprong said. “We will be focusing on event based activities such as art shows, author readings, galas, and ‘evening with’ types of performances within the MD of Taber. Our goal is to complement, and not compete with, the amazing work of the other art organizations within the region and to take full advantage of existing and future venues.”
“We express ourselves through art, come together around art, and are enriched and challenged by art,” Sprong said. “Arts have an important role to play in our communities – but they are also an outstanding excuse to put on our fancy clothes and have a special night out. We need more of that and Oldman River Arts Club is happy to rise to the challenge.”
Juror’s Choice: Wetland Wonders, Melissa Enns
Intermediate 2-D: There is Still One Waiting for You, Amy Ouellette
Advanced 2-D: True Love, Cindy Walsh
Master’s 2-D: Agricultural Employment, Joseph Ginter
Signature 2-D: Western Way of Life, Linda Milne
Sculpture – Masters: Howling Wolf, Harry Burk
Sculpture – Beginners: Bull Rider-Shiny, Tony Machacek
Digital – DA-M – Master’s: Crimson Drive, Linda LaRochelle