I’m at the Angus McKay Art Show and although I had seen part of the setup earlier in the day, it did not prepare me for the transformation currently before my eyes.
It’s April 25, a Thursday night, and the gymnasium is barely recognizable as it hosts this fundraiser to support the redevelopment of Angus McKay School’s courtyard.
I am first drawn to the cascade of glistening crystals hanging like four chandeliers from the gym ceiling. Where are the dodge balls? What happened to the birdies and the basketballs?
In the middle of the gym is a large table dressed in black with a seven-foot-tall centerpiece of willow branches – and the promise of spring to come. Sprouting up from the table is a garden of cake pops, cookies, cupcakes and brownies almost too beautiful to touch.
Surrounding the garden of treats is an orchard of easels filled with original work from over 150 fresh new artists, ranging in age from five to 12. Around these stands are people immersed in the art.
Besides wonderful art and delicious treats, visitors are entertained by several talented musicians from Miles Macdonell Collegiate. Prodigy, a 10-person singing group under the direction of Zane Zalis, engages the crowd with five musical numbers ranging from The Beach Boys to Queen. Reyann Plourde, a guitarist and vocalist who studies under Les Chalmers, also performs.
As I stroll through this orchard of art I notice a variety of styles and colours. I see the dancing sky of the northern lights reflected in the fur of a polar bear. I see watercolour ponds full of lily pads and koi fish. I see the deep dark flowing landscapes in the style of Emily Carr. I see Manitoba animals painted in the Woodland style of Norval Morrisseau. I see painted backgrounds with large growing trees as well as interesting object collages. The students had the privilege of working with artist Alice Kulyk to create these one-of- a-kind pieces.
I could get used to this new gym. It’s surprising. It’s peaceful. It’s ART.
At any given moment I can see people laughing, visiting, relaxing and taking in the artwork. The purpose of this evening is to raise money by selling tickets to the event so visitors can purchase artwork. Although many pieces were pre-sold there are still some wonderful works available.
When asked about the event, people respond positively. The refreshments are a big hit. The mood created by the lighting, the decoration and the art is appreciated. The art is amazing.
One guest likes that various media were used to produce the art. Another likes the varied subjects. One guest suggests that she would have bought 10 pieces rather than the two she did, had the pieces not already sold; she wishes that every class had made prints or art cards so that she could have samples of them all.
A special piece called “Ball of Confusion” is raffled off at the end of the evening. This painting was created and donated by artist Walter Kulyk and is taken home by a very proud Angus McKay parent. I wanted to win that prize!
Organizers can relax knowing all of their hard work has finally paid off. Friends and neighbours have come together in support of our school.
Over 100 people attend the event and by the end of the evening all 155 pieces of art have sold. Over $2,000 is now available to develop the Angus courtyard as an educational space.
No matter how much money is raised, I count the evening as a success. An event like this would definitely be worth doing again!
Read Soffia W.’s preview of the Art Show and Sale here.