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Art party in the garden!

Gallery switches Square One out for new outdoor gala

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 06:00 am

VISUAL SENSE – The Art Gallery of St. Albert's Jenny Willson-McGrath, has just finished preparing the gallery for the annual Garden Party gala which runs June 7. The event will alow members of the public to enjoy an evning of socializing and artwork from artists all over Alberta.
VISUAL SENSE – The Art Gallery of St. Albert's Jenny Willson-McGrath, has just finished preparing the gallery for the annual Garden Party gala which runs June 7. The event will alow members of the public to enjoy an evning of socializing and artwork from artists all over Alberta.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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Preview

Gallery Garden Party: Fundraiser & Exhibition
Saturday, June 7 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Tickets are $25 in advance ($20 for members and participating artists) or $30 at the door.
After June 7, the exhibition will be open to the public during regular hours until June 20
ArtWalk to be held tomorrow, Thursday, June 5, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Art Gallery of St. Albert
19 Perron Street, St Albert
For more information, call 780-460-4310 or visit www.artgalleryofstalbert.ca.

The Art Gallery of St. Albert has rethought its annual major fundraiser but you can’t say that it’s going to start at square one. Square One was its last title but art lovers are now getting their hats and flowery dresses ready as they eagerly await the Gallery Garden Party.

“It’s good to keep it fresh and keep offering people something new,” said interim director Jenny Willson-McGrath.

Square One only had two incarnations after the long-standing annual Art Auction gala was relegated to the annals of history. But Square One still wasn’t what a lot of the gallery’s supporters and patrons were hoping for. A focus group last year helped organizers to develop this new concept.

One of the most noticeable changes that people will notice, apart from the name, is the artwork itself. Square One featured 1’ x 1’ foot paintings and 1’ x 1’ x 1’ foot sculptures. Now, anything goes for the most part, Willson-McGrath added.

“There’s no real dimension requirement like Square One. We did put an upper limit on the sizes and the values to keep it affordable for patrons to purchase artwork. It’s all of a really, really high quality.”

Ticket holders will get to enjoy exclusive first access to the art for sale and auction. There will also be live music, prizes, and a botanical art bar, plus a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres including tea and cake.

The garden tea party atmosphere will help to support the educational programs and exhibitions of St. Albert’s public art gallery plus the proceeds will be split with the participating artists.

The list of contributing artists is still as long as ever and features more than 60 recognizable names and even a few new ones. The theme encourages attendees to put on their best garden party attire too.

Along with the gala festivities and art sales, there will also be a raffle and silent auction and live art that will also be auctioned off.

“I have a really positive outlook for it.”

Ticket sales are brisker than usual too, she said, but there are still some left.

She hopes to continue to get more feedback from event attendees in order to keep improving the fundraiser.

Other details

The change also means that local art lovers who usually make the gallery their starting point during summer ArtWalks will get less of a full gallery show but more of a sneak peek at what’s in store for Saturday.

“Visitors might get a little bit of a taste. We’re going to be under construction at that time and we’re not going to hide it! They’ll see how these things come together: the unglamorous side as much as the glamorous side.”

There will be some of the artwork available for viewing but Willson-McGrath said, “We’re keeping a lot of it under wraps so it’s a special surprise for the party guests.”

On ArtWalk night, however, they will get to see local artist Julie Kaldenhoven at work on a painting that will be available for purchase at the garden party.

Patrons and passersby will also have the chance to stop in on a new “photo opportunity” of sorts in front of the gallery. Last month’s photo booth for the High Energy exhibit proved to be immensely popular with guests who shared many of their photos on social media.

“We’re hoping to get as many snaps of the public as possible, posing in our Gallery Garden Party themed photo booth.”


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