Local artist nominated for Provincial award
Airdrie artisan Veronica Funk is being recognized for her art and community involvement with a nomination for the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Awards.
The award recognizes outstanding achievements in the arts or significant contributions to the arts in Alberta.
The distinction provides up to three winners $30,000 each and may be given out every second year.
“Every time I think about it I get a little feclempt,” Funk said of the nomination.
“To me it’s the equivalent of the Oscars for Alberta artists.”
The Creative Airdrie Society (CAS) chose to nominate Funk due in part to her commitment to the arts within Airdrie, said Sherry Shaw-Froggat with the CAS.
“(Funk) is not just someone who is a talented artist but someone who is a huge patron of the arts and goes above and beyond in the community,” Shaw-Froggatt said.
“Ever since I’ve known Veronica she’s had a very strong desire to see arts in Airdrie grow,” she added.
“The opportunity I’m given here is amazing,” said Funk of her involvement in the Airdrie art community.
Funk is a founding member of the CAS, participated in the Main Street Art Project, helped establish the AIRdirondack art project and gala and is the Art Program coordinator for the Airdrie Public Library.
Known for her paintings depicting chairs, Funk has more recently created abstract canoe pieces that combine her childhood experiences with her love of aboriginal culture.
Funk recalled growing up in Northern Manitoba in the town of Leaf Rapids, a largely Cree community, which she called, “a good place to grow up.” She noted one memory in particular where she was bundled up in a full snowsuit making snow angels while looking at the northern lights.
“I missed the North so I painted canoes for myself,” she said, adding since she began painting them she feels more settled.
Funk, who said she loves to learn and is working towards her bachelor of fine arts degree, took an abstract painting course in which she learned to combine the style with her canoes.
The result is her current collection of artwork, Sacred Vessel, which will be on display at the Blue Rock Gallery in Black Diamond, Alta., from March 9 to April 4.
She said part of her childhood education was all about outdoor activities including snowshoeing and hunting in a way that was non-damaging to the environment.
She also had the opportunity to experience Cree ceremonies that honoured the land and the animals. This respect for aboriginal culture can be seen in the pictographs Funk includes in her abstract work.
The artist takes a journal with her on hikes to sketch pictographs she finds along the way.
“They are like little stories,” she said of the symbols.
An awards banquet will be held in Red Deer on June 15 where the winner(s) will be announced.
“It’s the biggest honour and very humbling to be recognized in the community,” Funk said.
She added she doesn’t create art for the recognition but admits, “It feels awfully nice.”
“It makes me feel a stronger connection to the community,” she said.
“Veronica is a firm and passionate believer in the good and whole of the community,” said Shaw-Froggatt.
“She’s just great.”