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Artists get busy

Local artists mount shows in and around St. Albert

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 06:00 am

More Images - Click to Enlarge
  • A watercolour entitled Mountain Morning by artist Rhonda Vickers.
    A watercolour entitled Mountain Morning by artist Rhonda Vickers.
    Supplied photo
  • A watercolour entitled Awake Too Late by Argy Burgess.
    A watercolour entitled Awake Too Late by Argy Burgess.
  • A sunflower by artist Dawn LeBlanc.
    A sunflower by artist Dawn LeBlanc.
  • A sculpture entitled Dark Angel by Sharon Moore-Foster.
    A sculpture entitled Dark Angel by Sharon Moore-Foster.

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St. Albert is well known as a city of artists and there are many painters, potters, sculptors and others who have been very busy lately. There are lots of opportunities for members of the public to get out and explore some of the work that our local visual artists have put on display in various venues. This is but a brief summary.

Surfaces: an art show and sale celebrating spring

The forceful foursome of Allison Argy-Burgess, Sharon Moore-Foster, Dawn LeBlanc and Rhonda Vickers has a one-day only “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” show and sale to delight art lovers.

A baseball clubhouse might seem like an unusual venue for an art show but the St. Albert Minor Baseball clubhouse at Legion Memorial Park is shaping up to be a wonderful venue, Moore-Foster says.

“It’s a fabulous location! It is so wonderful: you’re right in the park area and there’s lots of parking. The clubhouse has a big deck on it. It’s perfect for spring.”

The show will feature a selection of the artists’ creations in various media, including sculpture, acrylics and photography. Vickers works in watercolours mostly for her own purposes as a way to relax. It was always in the background before that but since she retired last year, it has become more of a profession to her. She is taking it seriously indeed.

“I call it my bingo because you just start getting into it and next thing you know, it’s two o’clock in the morning,” she admitted.

Her work, she says, is often said to be in the batik style, according to those that are familiar with it.

“It was something that I always tried to fight and I just thought: ‘that’s the way I do it. Gotta go with it.’”

This exhibit will be her coming out party of sorts to introduce her to art lovers on the St. Albert scene. She confessed that her stomach is in her throat with nervousness over the upcoming affair but she offered many thanks to her three cohorts for helping her along.

“I’ve been lucky. I haven’t got a lot of formal training but I’ve been really, really blessed to have some very, very talented friends who took me under their wing.”

The show is on at the clubhouse at Legion Memorial Park at 215 Sturgeon Rd. There will be refreshments and treats. Artists will be in attendance.

Email or visit for more information.

Book as Weapon of Change II

The creative residents of River Ridge Seniors Community are excited about a new project they’ve been working on. In December they visited a University of Alberta sculptural exhibition called Book as Weapon of Change. Instructor Royden Mills made a visual statement about how libraries are throwing away so many books, and he used those items as the media.

Carly Greene, the resident artist at the seniors’ facility, said Mills invited her and her artists to participate in an intergenerational discussion panel with some of the artists involved. After that, the seniors wanted to make their own book art. The idea worked well with Mills’ plan to mount a second part of the exhibition. That show is now on display.

They collaborated on A Mystic Return to Their Origin, a sculpture that, Greene explains, is based “around the ideas of rebirth and regeneration as the books are being adopted into a new state of existence.”

“They have been experimenting with materials and working really hard on making a big unique sculpture!”

Book as Weapon of Change II runs until Saturday, May 10. A reception will be held on Saturday, April 26, from 2 to 5 p.m. There will be drinks and snacks provided. Numerous artists will be in attendance.

It is located in the Rutherford Library Galleria (in the atrium area between Rutherford North and South) on the University of Alberta campus.

Art Start by public school students

It’s as much a rite of passage as it is a rite of spring. St. Albert Public Schools offers every one of its 7,000 or so students (from across 14 schools) the opportunity to become an exhibiting artist, all in the foyer of St. Albert Place.

Colleen Hewitt, art teacher at Paul Kane High School and the event’s organizer, explained that it’s a big deal to many of the students and an even bigger deal to some.

“The idea is to have something where we’re highlighting the work that kids are doing right from kindergarten to Grade 12 in the visual arts,” she said, adding that the notion of becoming an exhibiting artist is an important step in many artists’ careers.

“For some of them, it’s quite neat, the way that they respond to it. It’s a really exciting thing for them. For high school students it’s really great to have your work hanging up in public for people to see. It’s a big deal for the kids that are going into the post-secondary area in fine arts. Being in a show like this is a really great opportunity for them.”

She offered thanks to the St. Albert Painters’ Guild and Diane Gwilliam, visual arts programmer with the City of St. Albert, for their behind-the-scenes support. She also said that the public response has been very positive so far.

The 10th annual Art Start exhibit opened on Tuesday and runs until Thursday, April 24 at St. Albert Place. For more information, call the district office at 780-460-3712 or visit

Bookstore art

Nathalie Shewchuk-Paré and Sylvia Grist have combined their talents to demonstrate how libraries are not the only book-related places where visual art makes for a fine cultural pairing.

Their work is on at Gallery 7 in the Bookstore on Perron until Saturday, April 26.

Grist said she both paints and works in collage with recycled magazines.

“I make landscapes and things with nature or with people. Usually they are really naïve and primitive but leaning toward a little more fantasy, still in the landscape,” she said.

Shewchuk-Paré, on the other hand, is more of a multimedia artist, painting in oils, acrylics and oil pastels, sometimes on the same panel.

The store is located at 7 Perron St. Call 780-458-3155 or visit its Facebook page for “The Bookstore On Perron Street.”

Father Douglas

Father Douglas has packed up his recent Galerie PAVA show and is taking it down the road. The Two Contrary States of the Human Soul is now on at the Naess Gallery in the Paint Spot. The art store is located at 10032 - 81 Ave. in Edmonton. Call 780-432-0240 or visit for more information.

It runs until Wednesday, May 7.

Selected works of his will also be projected to complement the live poetry readings of Jocelyne Verret Chiasson during a special event held in conjunction with the Edmonton Poetry Festival. The poet used his paintings as inspiration for her writing.

For more information, visit and look for “French Twist.” The event will be held in the Bicyclette Café at La Cité Francophone, located at 8627 rue Marie-Ann-Gaboury (91 Street, near the Faculté St. Jean) on Thursday, April 24 at 8 p.m.

Karen Blanchet

The local artist’s new show, Connections/célébrons les liens, has finally arranged for an opening reception. That takes place Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at Galerie PAVA, 9524 - 87 St. in Edmonton. Call 780-461-3427 or visit for more information.


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