It's Winter Festival season, and one of the first events, as usual, was the Juried Art Show, held this past Friday evening. As I'm currently deputy mayor, I had the chance to attend to represent council. I've often had this opportunity, and every time I'm impressed by the wide variety of pieces and by the impressive quality of the entries. I also enjoy the chance to talk to some of the artists, as well as with the many people from the community who show up to enjoy the evening.
Well over two hundred artists submitted entries, in pretty much every medium you could imagine - paint, pottery, photography, fabric, yarn - and some you might not, with some entries using such material as old pipes and other recycled items. That this variety of artwork could be organized and hung in a relatively short time frame speaks volumes about both the curator and the gallery staff and the hard work that has obviously been put into this show.
Events like the Juried Art Show also reflect that artistic appreciation is a purely individual thing. The adjudicator does hand out awards, but there is also the People's Choice Award, which reflects the opinion of those in attendance. In matters of art, there is no hard and fast right or wrong.
One of the things that I like most about art is its accessibility to everyone. You don't have to have a particular level of skill to participate, and there are so many different media to explore that even if you can't draw a straight line with a ruler, you can probably create something using a different medium that you can be proud of. Prince Albert has many opportunities for you to explore your artistic side, with the Arts Centre offering classes for all ages in drawing, painting, pottery and other art forms from many talented individuals. And art is something that can be done throughout your life, getting better and better the more you do.
The Mann Art Gallery has put a great deal of effort into bringing arts awareness to the community, offering various courses for both children and adults, often with a theme of exploration, allowing participants to find out areas that they enjoy, and broadening their experiences.
The city supports the Arts Centre and the Mann Art Gallery, of course, and other places where artistic efforts are important, like the Rawlinson Centre and the JMC library. Proportionally, we subsidize athletic venues like the Art Hauser Centre, the fieldhouse, skating rinks, and the golf course far more than the venues focused on artistic endeavours. That's something to remember when new facilities are being proposed - we need to balance the services that we offer our citizens, ensuring that there are opportunities for the wide range of interests of all citizens, not favouring certain sectors over others.
"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." - Thomas Merton