May 4th had a theme of gardens and flowers in St. Albert. After a lengthy winter, ArtWalk, St. Albert Potters’ Guild and the Visual Arts Studio Association (VASA) made the Perron District into a veritable garden of art.
The 15th annual ArtWalk couldn’t have had better weather to start its season. Along Perron Street and tucked into shops, local artists set up tables to showcase and sell their work that included everything from mosaics to watercolours. Residents had the chance to talk with the artists, which is one of the main reasons ArtWalk is so popular.
Local artist Judy Leila Schafers takes advantage of the great weather at St. Albert’s first ArtWalk of the season. She does realistic paintings that are inspired by nature.
Local painter and printmaker Karolina Kowalski at her AGSA showing during the ArtWalk. She says nature is always a main theme in her artwork as she loves its fluid lines.
The ArtWalk organizers are still looking for more local artisans and buskers to participate each month. If you want to register for one of the events, just go to www.artwalkstalbert.com and click on “Artist Registration.”
The Art Gallery of St. Albert (AGSA) had its opening reception for the 22nd annual High Energy exhibit. Every year, AGSA exhibits art students’ work of St. Albert’s five high schools: Bellerose Composite, École Secondaire Paul Kane, St. Albert Catholic, École Secondaire Sainte Margerite d’Youville and Outreach. As always, AGSA puts a challenge to the students, and this years’ challenge was to create something with the theme of maps.
Maps as Sculpture by Bellerose High School students. Each piece in this sculpture portrays the “varied Albertan landscapes that blend from one to the next.” The colours, too, also represent Alberta and nature. The spheres represent nature and the cubes represent man-made restrictions on nature.
Book of Canadians by Paul Kane High Schools students. Here, the students focused on Canadian identity, as well as people of the global community. The students drew either themselves or one of their family members on a particular map that held a special meaning to them.
The talent and creativity on display never fails to impress curator Jenny Willson-McGrath. She remembers talking to a visitor at a past High Energy exhibit, and he mentioned they also had a high school art exhibit where he lives, but he was amazed at the variety of art shown here. “High schools in St. Albert have always encouraged all forms of art for their students. This exhibit is a continuous testimony to the calibre of St. Albert school art programs,” says Willson-McGrath.
Elsa Zahar was a St. Albert resident who was very active with AGSA when it was known as Profiles Visual Art Society, and served on the board. When she passed away in 1998, a memorial fund was set up under her name. At each High Energy Exhibit, a volunteer jury chooses a winner and honourable mentions (who were short-listed). The pieces titled “Bright & Black” (portrait in pastel at left) by Victoria Gorzitza, and “94 Hours” (flower in acrylic at right) by Paris Webb are honourable mentions.
Noah Dewitt was the winner of the Elsa Zahar award for his piece titled “What’s Up?” The piece was done entirely with a Sharpie™ pen.
AGSA employees Pamela Gendron (rental and sales gallery associate) and Emily Baker (exhibitions assistant) were on hand to talk to visitors attending the exhibit and ArtWalk.
The annual St. Albert Potters’ Guild Spring Show and Sale also fell on May 4th. The foyer of St. Albert Place was filled with tables laden with beautiful pieces of pottery, with more to see in W.A.R.E.S. shop just down the hall.
The St. Albert Potters’ Guild Spring Show was a big success. There were raku pieces, wall plaques, mugs and its annual fundraising table where all the proceeds from these items go to ovarian cancer research.
The event always draws a crowd, and this year was no exception as the lineup to purchase pieces extended into the library. While shoppers perused the finished pieces, they also had pottery demonstrations: wheel throwing and Cynthia Tang-Yeh of “The Cynful Potter” showed her skills in moulding and decorating plates.
Just around the corner, VASA held their Nature’s Garden Group Show. Nine artists displayed their works with a garden theme that included traditional paintings, mixed media pieces and mosaics. This show encouraged visitors to mingle with the artists either in the main area set up with drinks and appetizers or in the artists’ studios about the building.
Some of the beautiful artwork that can always been seen at VASA. There’s a new indoor sculpture garden at the back entrance that’s quirky and certainly gives a southwestern feel to the place.
One of the artists, Memory Roth, had one her paintings chosen to grace the cover of St. Albert’s Historical Society’s new book A Bridge Over Time. The book describes this city’s past thirty years and picks up where the Socitey’s last historical book, Black Robe’s Vision, left off.
St. Albert is a Botanical Arts City. There are so many different ways to get creative, and there are plenty of ways to see how much talent there is in this city of 65,589 people. ArtWalk is just one way of experiencing art in the beautiful outdoors—and there are four more ArtWalks to come.