Traveling exhibition features local art

Handbuilt and wheelthrown pottery piece Cucumber Fairy House by Margie Hildebrand of Morden. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

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The 38th annual Central Region Juried Art Exhibition (CRJAE) has kicked off and will be making its way around the region in the coming months.

The show, held by the Central Cultural Council (CCC), consists of 35 pieces of artwork from the Central Region.

Pembina Hills Arts Council administrative coordinator Laurie Wiebe said it’s a good event to bring exposure to local artists. “The idea was to try to increase the awareness of our area’s artists and make it into a proper juried show,” she said. “It’s kind of taken off from there.”

The CCC is comprised of PHAC, Golden Prairie Arts Council (Carman), Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment (formerly Portage & District Arts Council in Portage la Prairie), Tiger Hills Arts Association (Holland), Recreation & Regional Services and Winkler Arts & Culture, which joined this year.

81 pieces by 38 artists were submitted, and those 35 that were selected will tour with the art show around the region.

The CRJAE held its official opening on April 25 at St. Paul’s United Church in Morden. “It’s wonderful to have so many people come in that have an interest in art,” Wiebe said. “They may not be artists, or are other artists who may not have submitted for the exhibition. It’s kind of like a refresher, they see what other people are doing and they might get motivated to stretch their own knowledge.”

The show features a wide variety of art media, including watercolours, acrylic paintings, quilting, photography, textiles, pottery and sculptures.

“It’s important for artists to have the ability to network,” Wiebe said. “They receive professional juror feedback so that they know to challenge themselves and hopefully further them in their professional development as an artist.”

Ten pieces from the Central Region art show were also selected to be shown at the Manitoba Rural & Northern Juried Art Show, organized by the Manitoba Arts Network. The exhibition takes place in Winnipeg in September, and features art from all around the province.

Desiree Eberling Penner from Crystal City, one of the artists featured in the show, started painting with watercolours in June of last year. “It’s really new for me,” she said. “I’ve dabbled in acrylic painting as well as drawing with charcoal before, but never much with anything, just a little bit here and there. I started painting with watercolours doing the cabin scenes, and everything clicked and I found a niche.”

This was Penner’s first time at the CRJAE and her first time showing art in a group setting, but in 2020 she will be doing a solo show in Carman.

Penner said she was a little nervous at first to be showing her work, but that feeling didn’t last. “The artistic community is so welcoming,” she said. “It’s less of a competition and more of just supporting one another as we share bits and pieces of ourself through our artwork.”

Penner is a social worker, and said she likes that watercolours allow her to paint when she has time. “I don’t have hours to paint consistently at one time,” she said. “What I like about watercolours is I can let the paints dry and then re-add water and I don’t have to waste paint essentially.”

Her watercolour Falcon’s Rest will be touring with the CRJAE and was also selected for the Rural & Northern show.

The CRJAE will tour the Central Region this summer. PHAC will host the show throughout May. In June the show travels to Portage la Prairie, followed by Holland in July. In August the show will reach Carman and in October (after the Rural & Northern Show in Winnipeg) the CRJAE will make its final stop in Winkler.

This is Desiree Eberling Penner’s (Crystal City) first CRJAE show, and one of her pieces (Falcon’s Rest, bottom) was selected to tour and to be shown at the Rural & Northern Art Show in Winnipeg. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

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