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Big plans for Weyburn Arts Council this spring and summer

There are many excited shows booked for the Weyburn Arts Gallery in the coming year.
Members of the Weyburn Arts Council gather at their annual general meeting, held March 20. In the back row, from left, are Regan Lanning (city representative), Krista Klemmer, Tasha Hill (chair for 2023, co-chair for 2024), Olha Matiusheva, Linda Aitken (secretary), Tara Keating-Jaap, and Chris Christie. In the front row, from left, are Charlotte Jones (vice chair) and Carley Istace. Missing from the photo are Georgia Lavallee (treasurer), Stephanie Lang (co-chair for 2024) and Krystal Glowatski.

WEYBURN - The Weyburn Arts Council has big plans for this spring and summer, as discussed during their annual general meeting held at the Spark Centre on March 20.

“In the spring we will continue with our multi-year initiative of bringing art into the public spaces of Weyburn, by painting murals on the dugouts surrounding the ball diamonds of Jubilee Park,” said Regan Lanning, in her curator’s report to the Arts Council board.

"Our goal is to tackle a couple a year until every dugout has a one-of-a-kind, eye-catching work of art on it.”

"We also plan to create a gallery-extension program, utilizing metal plinths with plexi-glass toppers to bring art into the park. The metal plinths have been created, due to project funding supplied by South East District,” said Lanning.

There are many excited shows booked for the Weyburn Arts Gallery in the coming year. Other arts programs, like the Gifted Art Markets, will also continue to be offered, with the goal of including more community involvement in these events.

Review of 2023 Art Exhibits

The James Weir People’s Choice continues to be the biggest draw of the year, with over 1,200 ballots cast during the 2023 exhibition. The 40th anniversary of the People’s Choice exhibit will be celebrated during a reception on March 22.

Last year, the Arts Council worked in partnership with Southeast Newcomer Services for “Stand Up to Racism”, the second annual anti-racism exhibition. It featured 27 works by Newcomers of all ages about the racism they experience in the community.

“The exhibition is particularly impactful due to the art being made locally, about local struggles,” said Lanning.

Other exhibits on display at the Weyburn Art Gallery in 2023 included ‘Annus Misrabilis’ by Monique Martin, ‘Canadiana: a Visual Celebration of Canada from Coast to Coast” by Susan Schafer, the ‘Gaia Symphony’ exhibit by Hannah Yokazawa Farquharson, and ‘The Degenhart Effect’, celebrating the works and life of former Weyburn art teacher Eltje Degenhart.

Partnered Programming

The annual Gifted Art Markets hosted between the Weyburn Arts Council and the Weyburn Art Gallery were a continued success. The summer sale was held for the third time in Jubilee Park, and was moved from late August to the beginning of July. “One issue that arose from our date change was it coincided with the Weyburn Fair.  Next year we are moving the sale to the second Saturday in July to avoid this happening again,” said Lanning.

The winter sale was held at the Spark Centre, utilized the arts wing of the Spark Centre, and the connected Legacy Park Elementary School gymnasium. “As our Winter Sale has space restrictions, we continue with our adjudication process for the sale. The adjudication enables us to have the best possible representation for local artists and craftspeople,” said Lanning.

The ‘Rolling with the Gnomies’ community-wide hide-and-seek program was first held in 2023, with continued success in 2024. Members of the Weyburn Arts Council made clay gnomes that were then hidden around the community, and a Facebook page was created to encourage Weyburn residents to find the gnomes, and then re-hide them. This program pulled in community members of all ages.

In July of 2023, the Weyburn Arts Council partnered with the Weyburn Public library to organize a Pride Week celebration for their community. They developed a full slate of events for Pride Week, all of which were open to the public and free to attend. The week was a great success, with hundreds of people attending the various programs.

The Credit Union Spark Centre ran a successful Kids Summer Program for eight weeks in July and August. This was the second year for the camp, and included a new partnership with Inclusion Weyburn. The hybrid art and recreation program had different themes during the summer, and had full registration.

A multi-year initiative to bring more public art to Weyburn was continued in 2023. The Weyburn Arts Council had a mural design competition with local schools, with the winning design now on display at the Spark Centre.

The Arts Council also partnered for Culture Days, with many events and activities held throughout the community. One highlight of the event was a Treaty 4 Timeline Walk for Reconciliation, where 15 signposts were displayed in Jubilee Park, to raise awareness of the history of the Treaty 4 Territory.

Permanent Collection

There were 14 new works added to the permanent art collection in 2023. Donated art work included six pieces by the late Kay Fleury, two works by Gordon Stairmand, artwork by the late Maryanne Seitz, a large Eltje Degenhart piece, an oil painting by Ken Lonechild and three reproductions by Marie Stoney.

“Our collection is in dire need of appraisal, however the price tag for having such a large and varied collection continued to be a stumbling block,” said Lanning. A new approach was taken by the Weyburn Arts Council in 2023, where they decided to split the collection up into smaller pieces for appraisal. There will be 50 works appraised per year, starting in 2024, on a continuous basis. As the collection sits at over 300 works, it is estimated that the entire collection will be appraised within the next six years.