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    Categories: Entertainment

Local artists paint the river valley

– Works by Carroll Charest are on display at the Kaasa Gallery in an exhibit inspired by the North Saskatchewan River.

The beauty of the North Saskatchewan River has inspired 28 artists to create a gallery exhibit, now on display at the Kaasa Gallery. Marking the Valley was co-sponsored by the River Valley Alliance and the Visual Arts Alberta Association as a way of highlighting art and environment together. The show features a wealth of artistic Alberta talents including a few from St. Albert and area.

Sharon Moore-Foster, the program and development co-ordinator with the association, described the show as a great way of giving artists a single starting point and letting their imaginations and creativity run free.

“There are so many different ways that a visual artist will receive that information and let it process or filter what excites them about the sculptural forms and the lines.”

Every piece of art on display includes a map designating where the artist was located during the creation of her or his work.

The River Valley Alliance is a not-for-profit organization representing seven municipalities that are all connected by the river. It aims to “preserve, protect and enhance” the river valley, creating a “continuous world class metropolitan river valley park system,” according to its website at www.rivervalley.ab.ca. It is set to span 18,000 acres and include 88 kilometres of trails once completed.

“They truly represent the beauty of the river valley and what it contributes to the region – space for a multitude of activities and for communities to connect,” stated Leslee Laing, the program manager at the Alliance.

It features works by local painters including Carroll Charest and Helen Rogers. Other notable participants include Byron McBride, Susan Diebel, Father Douglas, Elaine Funnell, Wendy Gervais, Shane Golby, Leona Olausen and Nataša Vretenar.

The opening reception takes place on Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Artists will be in attendance. Please RSVP by visiting markingthevalley.eventbrite.ca.

Marking the Valley runs until Oct. 7. The gallery is in the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, which is located at 11455-87 Avenue in Edmonton. It then moves to the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium where it will be on display from Oct. 17 to Nov. 30.

Authentic Art

A new and unique art program at the Visual Arts Studio Association is taking centre stage in the centre’s gallery space and just in time for StArts Fest.

Peg McPherson has been leading Artists With Disabilities, art workshops for local residents with developmental disabilities, for several months. The pilot project started in 2013 with assistance from Paul Freeman of the Nina Haggerty Centre in Edmonton.

She guides them through their artistic practice and has seen some interesting progress.

“Seeing [the show], I had a feeling of such positive energy. It’s so honest. It’s coming from them. It’s not something that’s imposed on them – ‘you’re going to only use these colours.’ It’s a very refreshing show.”

Some of the participants’ talents, she continued, are really “expanding and changing and developing.”

The opening reception takes place today from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. as part of StArts Fest. Authentic Art runs until Oct. 24. The Visual Arts Studio Association is located at 25 Sir Winston Churchill Avenue in the Hemingway Centre.

The program was on a summer break but has just resumed sessions. They take place on Tuesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Please call the association at 780-460-5990 or visit www.vasa-art.com for more information. Techniques and art forms run the gamut from painting to textiles to clay works and beyond.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.