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Female artists celebrate their Weyburn roots

Ten women with ties to Weyburn have united to put on an art show, "Emerging Artists - Female Artists Celebrate their Artistic Roots," at the Allie Griffin Art Gallery.
In front (l-r) are artists Janis Eaglesham and daughter Gina Rubin, Tara Keating and mother Jan Keating and in back are Diane Goranson York with aunts Doris Wilson and Beatrice Bell, Jane Johnston and Jean Chose.

Ten women with ties to Weyburn have united to put on an art show, "Emerging Artists - Female Artists Celebrate their Artistic Roots," at the Allie Griffin Art Gallery."We were either born here or spent the majority of our youth here," said organizer Jan Keating. "None of us had ever had an art show in Weyburn before, even though some of the women are accomplished artists."Many of the artists featured have a family connection to each other, including the two artists currently residing in Weyburn, mother and daughter Jan and Tara Keating. Jean Chose displayed her work along with her mother's art, Joan McAnsh, whose work was displayed posthumously. Another mother/daughter connection included artists Janis Eaglesham and daughter Gina Rubin. Exhibitor Diane Goranson York was joined by her two aunts, sisters Beatrice Bell and Doris Wilson. Jane Johnston (nee Bowden) also displayed her work.Many of the women travelled from across Canada to participate in the art show's reception on June 5. Full-time painters Eaglesham, Rubin and Johnston currently reside in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. Chose lives in Vancouver, working with oils and acrylic paint; she displays her work in art shows and a coffee house in Vancouver.Bell, a trained artist with shows and artwork displayed across Ontario, resides in Windsor. She grew-up on the Goranson family farm outside of Weyburn.Also born and raised at the Goranson family farm, Wilson lives in Rathwell, Manitoba. A self-taught artist, Goranson York lives in Saskatoon.Jan is a self-taught artist and her daughter Tara is a professionally trained artist that runs an independent graphic design firm and an interior decorating company called Luxury Laine Design.Many of the artists affirmed that their artistic roots run deeply in Saskatchewan, despite having moved away."Everything I see is contrasted against my Saskatchewan landscape memories," said Johnston. "The light, the dark, the vastness of the openness and the depth of its simplicity are all inspiration for creativity."Jan began planning the art show last year after discovering that many former Weyburnites were pursuing their artistic passions throughout Canada. Upon learning that Janis, the daughter of Dr. Fergus and Isabelle Eaglesham, was an accomplished artist, Jan decided that she wanted to share her art with Weyburn because the Eaglesham's were a prominent family in the city."I was so thrilled with her work that I thought others would be interested to see what she's been doing and her achievements," said Jan.At the show, Eaglesham displayed two pieces directly related to Weyburn: "The Powell House" and "Under the Saskatchewan Sky" which is a landscape scene depicting the Weyburn Water Tower and Signal Hill Arts Centre. Eaglesham said that Weyburn continues to be an influence on her art.According to Jan, one of the goals of the art show was to get these artists with local ties into Weyburn's Permanent Art Collection. The deceased member of the group, McAnsh, already has some pieces in the collection."I thought it would be nice to see Jean's work hang beside her mothers in that collection some day," Jan said.Bell and Wilson, both in their 80s and full-time painters, have even offered to donate their work to the collection."All the artists would be interested in seeing their work in the Permanent Art Collection," said Jan. "We'd even be willing to be invited to paint something specifically if nothing fits the criteria." Jan admitted that there could have been many other artists that should have been in the show."These are the names that came to me," said Jan. "But we didn't have the space."Jan credits Curator Marnie Bernard for being able to squeeze the 68 art pieces into the gallery and the Weyburn Arts Council for helping with the reception, which included a performance by Magic, an all-female choir from Milestone.Jan said that the show is a piece of Weyburn's art history."These artists came from across Canada to do this," said Jan. "They'll never do this again."Jan said it was the artists' love of Weyburn that inspired them to do the show."We all love Weyburn and feel that this is where our love of art began. We're all prairie girls at heart!"The show will be on display at the Allie Griffin Art Gallery until June 26. Jan encourages teachers to bring their students to this "once in a lifetime show" before it's gone forever.