25 years and still painting up a storm
Painters' Guild celebrates silver anniversary with fall show and sale this weekend
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 03:15 pm
Up, Up and Away
25th Anniversary Celebration
St. Albert Painters' Guild
Fall extravaganza art show and sale this weekend
St. Albert Place (5 St. Anne Street)
Friday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with opening reception (artists will be present) starting at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Guild meetings held the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Painters' Studio at St. Albert Place Annual membership fee: $35
Call Peg McPherson at 780-459-7886 or visit www.paintersguild.ca for more information.
The saying ‘What’s old is new again’ must be particularly poignant for Peg McPherson. Long a fixture in St. Albert’s arts community, she was the first president of the St. Albert Painters' Guild when it formed all the way back in 1987.
Her second term just ended, as she re-enlisted to help the guild ring in its 25th anniversary this year. It’s a good time for the guild, with membership bursting at the seams – it has more than 80 painters in the fold – plus its annual fall show and sale taking over the foyer of St. Albert Place this weekend, starting Friday morning.
It was born of necessity, she remembers.
“At the time I was teaching most of the watercolour classes for the city. After class, people would say, ‘What’s next?’ ”
This was in the late 1970s and early 1980s but interest grew especially when St. Albert Place was built in 1984. McPherson was at the helm of the St. Albert Arts and Crafts Guild, but that closed shop in 1986. Within a year, the painters’ guild was open for business with 20 members. Its first show and sale took place on the second floor of St. Albert Place, in the Laubental Gallery.
A spring sale was added to the calendar and the tradition of the two annual events has continued ever since.
Joining McPherson in their triumph of continuous membership since the beginning are Patricia Trudeau and Carol Rose.
At one point, membership went past 100 but the group’s leadership soon realized that this was more than the guild could accommodate, especially at the show and sale. There’s only so much space, they reasoned.
“We don’t have meeting space for that many people. We don’t have show space for that many people. We decided for practicality and safety that we couldn’t have more, or have people in the show over 80. We’re just past that.”
This show – Up, Up and Away – features about half of those artists. A large part of the guild’s strength is not just in bringing people, novices and experts, all of similar interest together, nor is it in how it fosters painters’ talents, helping them to improve techniques and build their portfolios with some necessary camaraderie as well.
It’s also about the generally unspoken but vital element of marketing their talents and selling their wares. Many artists simply like to practise at home, but simply painting doesn’t mean that the world knows about the work and will be interested enough to buy.
That’s where events like this one come in and help many to bridge the gap from being an unknown painter to getting name recognition in the community and getting the work out there.
“The idea is to help nurture each other and give people that confidence. The first time you show, it’s scary,” she related. “You’re putting yourself out there. They’re judging you from that. It’s intimidating.”
The warmth and light social atmosphere of the opening receptions of these events are just about the best way to accomplish this task, McPherson emphasized.
“Everyone’s comfortable in their own little place but it’s when they go to share that with someone that you really feel that you have arrived. That’s the important part.”
In her view, the future looks bright for the state of the guild and for the wealth of artistry coming out of the city.