Art walk exposes village’s rich culture
Longview: More than 20 artists to be featured this weekend
Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017 06:00 am
Longview gallery owners are exposing the village’s abundant arts scene this weekend.
More than 20 artists will be set up throughout the village’s five art galleries and the community hall to talk about their creations for the Longview Art and Culture Connection’s Art and Culture Walk. The event runs Oct. 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Viewers can browse art in the Garside Wilson Gallery, The Lost American Art Gallery and Museum, Haywire Café and Grill, Prairie Light Studio and Wild West Wagons.
“The galleries in Longview represent over 20 artists,” said Dave Marshall, director of the Longview Art and Culture Connection and owner of Prairie Light Studio. “Given the size of Longview, that’s quite astounding.”
The professional photographer said he and other artists in the area are working to grow the village of about 300 people as an artist destination.
“It’s a really artsy community and we like to emphasize that and support that and expand that,” he said. “It’s our intention to grow the art walk into an arts festival over time.”
Art and Culture Walk was initially organized by the Longview Art and Culture Connection in conjunction with a separate fundraising event in June, which Marshall said brought about 200 people through the galleries.
“We had roughly triple the number of people show up than we would have on a normal weekend,” he said.
The art walk gives the public an opportunity to meet the artists behind the work they see in the galleries.
“The stuff on the walls is interesting, but the person behind the stuff on the walls is also of interest to people generally,” Marshall said. “I’m not in my own gallery very much but when I’m there, according to the young lady who works for me, people stay twice as long. They are interested in talking and hearing about what I’m doing.”
Marshall also gets questions about other artists featured in his gallery.
“People ask questions like, ‘What motivated you?’” he said. “It’s a question I can’t answer for someone else. It’s good to have them there to answer that.”
That connection between the artist and viewer often influences whether or not people purchase the art, Marshall said.
First Nations multi-media artist Keevin Rider of the Rider Native Art Gallery, who spent most of his childhood in Eden Valley, is one of the featured artists.
Rider will have his work on display at the Longview Community Hall.
“People I’ve known for years will say, ‘I didn’t know you did art,’” he said. “I had a lady at the Indian Village (at the Calgary Stampede) who said, ‘I knew you were an artist but I didn’t think you were this good.’”
Rider was one of the many youngsters who enhanced his drawing skills under the direction of the late Bert Smith in Longview, who kept books of the drawings which were released back to the now grown children last summer following his passing.
“Bert really inspired a lot of the locals,” Rider said. “We took it for granted that we had a place to go. He always had toast and orange juice for us. I brought a lot of people there from the reserve.”
In Kindergarten, Rider’s drawing of Santa and his reindeer made the High River Times.
“Growing up in Eden Valley my parents would travel to these farms to work every summer,” he said. “I went to school in Cayley, High River, Nanton, Cardston, Black Diamond, Longview, Calgary and Okotoks.”
Inspired by nature and his native traditions, Rider said he’s always loved drawing animals, warriors and his natural surroundings.
His wood-burned images have also become very popular.
“I was always riding horses up in the hills or just exploring,” he said of his childhood. “Some people don’t realize the simplest traditions that we take for granted like a marking or why we paint what we do. Once you explain something like that they look at your work a little differently.”
When Rider first began drawing he gave his pictures away. Then he started charging about $75 apiece.
“The more people I meet the more people would say, ‘You’re selling yourself short,’” he said. “It’s basically for the love of it.”
During the last 20 years, Rider’s work has appeared as murals in the school, wellness centre and hockey arena in Eden Valley, as well as in Morley, Turner Valley, Black Diamond and other communities across southern Alberta.