Photo finish at K-Days for Labelle

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It pays to pay attention to art contests. So says St. Albert Photography Club member Sylvia Labelle after her massive haul of awards from the Makers Exhibition at last month’s K-Days.

She took home eight first-place ribbons, five second-place ribbons, and two aggregate prizes, which are akin to grand prizes for different categories.

“It kind of shocked me,” she said.

The Makers Exhibition was an effort to bring the “old-style country fair” back to the 10-day summer festival as a way of celebrating the province’s makers, creators and producers. It had such categories as cooking, sewing, arts and crafts, and photography, of course, and offered prizes for both youths and adults in each category. It even offered blank colouring sheets for two age categories of youths.

Labelle saw the call for entries for photographers and didn’t hold back. She might have overwhelmed the judges with her images.

“This is the first time that they brought it back so there wasn’t a lot of competition. I think why I got so many [awards]was because I entered so many categories. I didn’t enter all of the categories but a lot of them.”

She was actually working at Northlands for the rodeo the night that the winners were announced. She took a break to check out how she did, and her mouth dropped.

“My mouth was dropping farther and farther as I’m going around,” she said, adding that she plans to enter again next year, but does expect competition to be stiffer in 2019.

A mural in the ‘Peg

VASA artist Shelby Willis is on a business trip to Manitoba where she is hard at work painting a mural, her first. Take Pride Winnipeg has been co-ordinating an anti-graffiti mural program since 1994, with hundreds of murals already having been commissioned for the effort. The murals are not only meant to stop crime with art but they are also meant to illustrate Manitoba history and its landscapes as well.

It all came about because of a chance meeting with Tom Ethans, the executive director of Take Pride Winnipeg who offered her the job as soon as he saw her work. It’s a larger canvas than she usually works on but she couldn’t say no.

“I was unsure at first, considering the logistics of getting there, as well as the fact that I had never painted a mural before. However, painting a mural has always been one of my artist’s goals, and I never like to turn down an opportunity out of fear, so I agreed that if the opportunity arose, I would be interested,” she said.

The mural was commissioned through a partnership between Take Pride Winnipeg and the Transcona Business Improvement Zone, an association of business owners, with the paint and scaffolding being donated for the project. The 4.6 metre by 15.2 metre wall is located on the side of a business located at 314 Bond St. in Transcona, a close suburb of the capital. It’s right among several other murals in the heart of what Transcona BIZ hopes will become an outdoor art gallery of murals in its downtown district. It’s situated right where the city often hosts farmers’ markets and live music events and her mural is actually located just behind the outdoor stage. That’s where future music lovers will see three large wild creatures created by Shelby Willis one day.

In her mind, it was serendipity that made it all happen. Once she had the offer, it seemed like the universe was telling her to take it.

“I was beyond nervous and beyond excited all at once. The concept of Winnipeg started popping up everywhere I looked: co-workers vacationing in Winnipeg, finding out people I knew were from Winnipeg, and my fiancé getting a new job which required three weeks training in Winnipeg. I took it as a sign that I was on the right track following through on the opportunity.”

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About Author

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.