By David F. Rooney
Works by a dozen of Revelstoke’s finest artists are Olympics-bound. Visual Arts Centre Director Jacqueline Pendergast said the 12 men and women who participated in the Art in the Park projects will be exhibiting their work, as From the Mountains to the Sea, at Parks Canada’s Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site in Steveston near the Olympic Speed Skating Oval.
“One of the primary goals of the Art in the Park program is for artists to interpret a landscape by creating works of art and share their experience with as wide an audience as possible,” says Pendergast, herself one of the artists whose work will be going to Vancouver. “In this way, national parks can be accessible to everyone. Our work will be viewed in Vancouver by visitors from around the world. We are hugely honoured for to be given this opportunity for artists from Revelstoke to receive recognition in a major Parks Canada historical site during the Olympics.”
The 12 artists and the work they’ll be sending are: Sue Davies, painter, Another Hidden Jewel; Sandra Flood, ceramist, White Pot; Rachel Kelly, painter, untitled new work; Lyle Grisedale, photographer, Paintbrush and Quartz; Cecilia Lea, painter, Touching the Clouds; Tina Lindegaard, painter, Fishing Village; Gwen Lips, painter, 800; Nicola McGarry, painter, Bendy Pines; Jacqueline Pendergast, fabric artist, A New Day; Shannon Robinson, painter, Falling Apart; Kip Wiley, photographer, Seastar Lingerie; and Cherie Van Overbeke, painter, Blue Hush.
The opportunity to show their work on part of the world stage is exciting for these men and women. Kip Wiley’s reaction was typically modest and understated: “I’m grateful for the opportunity to have my work displayed.” The reaction of some of the other artists was exuberant.
“I have never exhibited any work outside of Revelstoke before now,” said Van Overbeke. “I am very excited about the groups’ work going to the Cannery. It’s such a great opportunity for all of us. And for the work to be showing during the Olympics, right by the Speed skating oval, is just thrilling!”
Tina Lindegaard echoed her comments saying, “I think it is awesome, hopefully many visitors will have a chance to view the work and there will be feedback to Parks Canada to continue these types of programs.”
Art in the Park is a program sponsored by the Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier and Parks Canada that sees members of the Revelstoke Visual Arts Society venture into the National Parks in 2008 the artists were in Glacier National Park and in 2009 at Pacific Rim National Park. Their works were acclaimed and their exhibition openings drew huge numbers of people. The Friends have produced a book on each Art in the Park project and Parks Canada’s willingness to sponsor this exhibition during the Olympics turns a powerful spotlight of Revelstoke artists. Who knows where that will lead? It’s hard to say. But if photographer Lyle Grisedale’s personal reactions to seeing other people’s work is anything to go by then Revelstoke’s arts community in general could benefit from the increased attention.
“For me, this is a great opportunity to be exposed to a greater audience, and an international one,” he said. “I know that when I travel I always visit local art galleries to see what the locals are interested in. Being primarily a nature photographer it is very informative to see how others interpret nature and express their relationship with their wild environment. I am sure many of the Olympic visitors will share this interest in the arts of Canada while here.”
Painter Cecilia Lea agreed.
“We have a large and very talented group of artists in Revelstoke and to be invited to another gallery indicates recognition of that which is a major coup for Revelstoke’s dedicated art community,” she said.
In the meantime here are some of the images that will be shown at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site: