Local art hangs on the walls at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery, as the Exploring Art exhibition runs until May 3.
The exhibit shows off the work of the namesake group — the Exploring Art group — a fellowship of Dawson Creek artists.
Founded over 35 years ago by Edna McPhail — originally called the Time Out for Seniors — they are still going strong, with 30-plus members and meeting multiple times a week.
Each week, the group of artists picks a theme to focus on.
“We once a week come up with a word. Somebody will put a word on the bulletin board and it could be ‘happy’ or ‘spring’ or ‘trees’ or skies’ or whatever, and then you get home and think about what you could do with that theme, and the variety that you get back is unbelievable,” noted Ruth Wagar, a member since 1990, who has multiple pieces in the exhibition.
“Like if you put down ‘fun,’ you have no idea what people are thinking. Some will put down a little kid splashing in a puddle, a variety of things, everybody’s different in what they will interpret.”
The idea is a community of artists learning from each other, pushing each other.
“It’s about a community of artists meeting together to help one another get better in the art and enjoying art, promoting their art in the area, making opportunities for people to participate,” said Mary Parslow, a longtime Peace Region artist, but a more recent member, having joined about two years ago. “We expose each other to different ideas.”
“I enjoy the people. The ideas that we get from one another, somebody will explore doing a certain technique, and ‘oh, that looks like fun,’ so we’ll try it,” she said. “We’re known as the Exploring Art group, so that’s what we do, is explore.”
“A small community like ours has lots of talent,” continued Parslow.
The group currently meets Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at Northern Lights College. However, with the building they’re in slated for demolition, they are moving to their own space in the Calvin Kruk Centre this summer.
The exhibit also honours the founder McPhail, who passed away in 2008 and whose many accomplishments in Dawson Creek include saving the old grain elevator and placing the Art Gallery in it. Mike, her son, was on hand last Thursday for the opening reception.
“One of her big joys was doing this class, which she did until a week right before her death,” he said.
“Mom would be so impressed with the quality of work, it’s really, really impressive.”
The Exploring Art group welcomes new members. To find out more, contact the Art Gallery.
“I just find what we do is fun, we usually have a good laugh,” said Parslow. “And they’re all very friendly, helpful, and fun.”