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Creative Airdrie announces artists for fifth annual AIRdirondack art project

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 06:00 am

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The votes are in and 12 area artists have been selected from 23 unique submissions to create original works of art on chairs for the fifth annual AIRdirondack Art Project.

“The quality and variety of this year’s submissions were extremely impressive,” said AIRdirondack Art Project Co-ordinator and original 2010 chair artist Veronica Funk. “We’re so fortunate to have such a talented community of committed artists who step up to share their gift with the community.”

The AIRdirondack Art Project has been in existence since 2010 and is organized by Creative Airdrie.

The project consists of artists painting Adirondack chairs assembled by the Industrial Arts Program at Bert Church High School. The painted chairs are auctioned off by Creative Airdrie at a black tie gala held in September. This year’s winning submissions include artists from Airdrie, Calgary and Carstairs.

Airdrie artists selected are: Amanda Tozser with her Dia Los Muertos (Day of the End) concept; Brenna Millers, who focuses on blue jays in her designs; Char Vanderhorst, who will incorporate birch trees in her chair. Jenny Pyykonen won with her antique perfume design; Dave Sharp and Paul Nye will work a stone throne into their creation; Paul Nye will also make a Calgary Flames themed chair. Robyn Cooper is using petal power and creating a flower design; Shawnee Hoffman will be working with maps in her creation; Tracy Laxten is drawing inspiration from both dragons and cherry trees for her work and Zach Abbott will create an abstract street design on his chair.

Calgary artist Karen Pennifold will be doing a maple leaf theme on her chair and Carstairs’ Karen Penderson will create a dragonfly motif on hers.

The artists were selected by a jury of out-of-market art experts including Karen Gimbel from Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond, Alta., and Jill Yuzwa from Ayrspace Gallery in Ayr, Ont., members of the AIRdirondack Art Project committee and representatives from the event’s major sponsor Qualico.

“Our biggest challenge was narrowing down the final selections, so we are extremely grateful for the gallery directors and other committee members who share their valuable time and experience in order to make it the best it can be,” Funk said.

“We are excited to unveil the completed pieces in and around the city this year.”

All the chairs, except for the one created by Hoffman, will be revealed during the Empty Bowls Festival in Nose Creek Park on June 21.

Hoffman said she is hoping to get her chair done by July but has to wait for some help from some special artists coming all the way from South Korea.

“They’ll be helping me do my design called The Maps of Airdrie,” Hoffman said.

The help she will receive will be from a group of exchange students from Airdrie’s sister city Gwacheon in South Korea who will be visiting in June.

Hoffman said she hopes the experience of helping her with her design will help them to get to know the city along with her as she incorporates new and old maps of Airdrie into her design.

“I’m pretty honoured,” Hoffman said of being selected as an artist for a second time in a row. “I’m truly appreciative that I was selected.”

Hoffman was selected as the artist to complete the blank chair that was auctioned off at last year’s event. The winning bidder had the opportunity to work with Hoffman on a design that she is now in the process of completing. She said she is excited to have both chairs displayed in the city.


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