By David F. Rooney
Last Friday’s opening for the Art in the Park and the GASP exhibition as well as the retirement arty for Jackie Pendergast was quite the blow-out with 300 people in attendance at the Revelstoke Art Gallery
These were two excellent shows with stunning art by 12 of our region’s best painters and photographers.
“The Art in the Park program is a unique experience for artists,” said Jackie Pendergast, the Visual Arts Society’s outgoing executive director. “From personal experience I know this opportunity will give them inspiration for many years to come. In a time of financial accountability how can we quantify the impact of this program? I would argue the impact is priceless. For the artists who have participated in Art in the Park over the years they have been given a wonderful gift of being able to spend time with other artists in some of the most beautiful locations in the world.
“You will respond to the pieces they have created in different ways. You may recognize the location of some of the pieces or they may make you want to visit. They may give you pleasure or you may have a different reaction. However you respond you will be making a connection to the place, in this case Glacier National Park.”
I enjoyed all of the works on display but was really quite mesmerized by some of the photos by the students who went on the latest Glacier Adventure Stewardship Program. The images they displayed were remarkably mature and demonstrated that they know a great image when they see one.
And, finally, there was a tremendous send-off for Jackie. On a personal note, I have always admired her calm and conciliatory manner and the tremendous dedication she brought to her role as executive director. She was certainly the right person for the job when Visual Arts Society’s board brought on nine years ago. Here’s her take on it:
“After nearly 10 years as Gallery Administrator I have had the luxury of choosing when to retire. I chose this opening of Art in the Park as I have always loved the program and this fabulous group of artists have yet again reminded us why we choose to live in this beautiful part of the world. It is a bittersweet moment for me to be standing here for the last time ‘in charge.’
“I have had the pleasure of hanging thousands of pieces of artwork over the years. Every exhibit has been a bit like Christmas, seeing work for the first time and then showing it to its best advantage. I have especially enjoyed nurturing new artists and seeing them gain in confidence to not only exhibit in group shows but also to take on solo exhibits. I would not have been able to set up the various exhibits without my fabulous volunteers known affectionately as ‘The Hangin’Crew’ I would like to take this opportunity to thank past volunteers and ask the current crew, Peter, Mas, Cat and Sue to step forward so that I can personally thank them.
“I would also like to personally thank Margaret who has been a great support and been involved with all the financial aspects of the Centre which have grown so much over the years.
“I have enjoyed my time here enormously and feel blessed to have had two successful careers in my life. I am proud of what has been achieved and thank all the volunteers and members who have helped in creating the Centre we have today. I acknowledge the great work that occurred before me with initially the Revelstoke Art Group who had the vision to develop this building into a Gallery and Arts Centre and also the work of Sandra Flood who brought professionalism and knowledge to gallery exhibitions.
“This brings me to my final two thank yous. Firstly to Garry who has supported me every step of the way and has willingly helped in so many different ways. We now begin the next adventure.
“And my final thank you goes to Ken who is the most extraordinary volunteer I have ever known. Without his expertise, commitment and drive we wouldn’t have half of what has been achieved. I’m sure he has inwardly groaned when I have said ‘What do you think about doing …….or How about? …..’ And never once has he said “No”! He is the person so many members go to for help with their projects.
“I would like to wish Victoria every success as she takes on the role of leading the Centre through its next stage of development. I could not be happier than to leave it in her capable hands. We have worked hard together to ensure a smooth transition and I know she will be amazing.
“Lastly I would like to share with you the quote I have had as my guiding principle. It is by Sir Richard Attenborough:
“The arts are for everyone – and failure to include everyone diminishes us all.
“Judging by the number of you who have turned out this evening I hope you feel included. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me feel so special.”
Here are some images from the evening: