For painters, photographers, musicians, and other artists, it is an opportunity to showcase their work. For businesses, public centres, and other venues, it is an opportunity to display and promote art in all its forms.
For the community, it is an opportunity to become immersed in creativity, with walking tours and roadtrips between places of artistic interest.
Introducing the first Southwest Art Fest, a Cypress Hills-Grassland Destination Area event that will take place throughout September.
Maple Creek is involved. So too are many other communities in the region, from Shaunavon to Eastend, from Leader to Swift Current.
A leading figure behind the festival is Blaine Filthaut, a Maple Creek landscape artist and owner of the Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery in Jasper Street.
He said the concept was based on city art walks in which people visit galleries and shops while enjoying art, cultural entertainment, live music,, murals, and skills like pottery and quilting.
In Southwest Saskatchewan, the idea is for the public to plan a road-trip around performances, films, gallery exhibits, and other attractions.
For example, in Maple Creek, restaurants could display photographs – something already done by the Round-Up, said Filthaut.
To get involved, an artist or a venue has to register. Forms are available on the Southwest Art Fest Facebook page.
“We want to try the idea in our region,” he said. “It will be like a trial run this year. The hope is that it will create its own momentum and become an annual event.
“I think it will be a great opportunity for local artists, some of whom probably don’t get much exposure. If you are an artist, whose work is hidden away, this will be a chance to present it to the public.”
Filthaut believed the fest could be a big draw for visitors, providing a boost to the local economy.
“September is typically harvest time,” he said. “It would be a great time for tourists to come here and see what we do.”
He added: “The more people sign up for the fest, the more potential there is to draw people to our area.”
Filthaut said the Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery already had a busy schedule planned for September, with several artists hosting receptions (see separate piece). The Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre had also got on board.
“I think it is a fantastic idea,” said Donny White, Jasper board chair.
The Cypress Hills-Grasslands Destination Area (CHGDA) has issued a release on the event.
It said that “Southwest Art Fest” is an umbrella term focusing on multiple art genres including pairing, drawing, pottery, quilting, photography, film, music and other visual arts.
Southwest Art Fest will provide the opportunity for artists of all genres throughout Southwest Saskatchewan to have their artwork showcased at a designated location throughout the month of September.
“Artists are encouraged to find a venue and vice versa with participation being open to all Southwest artists and venues.”
The CHGDA said the festival provided a safe venue to tour, meet and discover Southwest Saskatchewan Art in a COVID-safe environment.
“Southwest Saskatchewan is a vast and diverse area which features many kilometres of highway that pass through the Sandhills, the Grasslands, the Cypress Hills and many communities with incredible sights along your travels to discover.”
The CHGDA said a festival Facebook page had been set up.
“A list of the participating artists and their venues will be maintained on the Southwest Art Fest Facebook page and the Cypress Hills-Grasslands Destination Area website.”
Anyone requiring additional information can contact Blaine Filthaut at Blaine_Filthaut@hotmail.com (306-661-8425) or Christine Broderick at email@example.com.
How to get involved
To register, fill out the online Google Docs form found on the Southwest Art Fest Facebook page.
The form will require details about the artist and the venue: the artist/venue name; art/venue description; phone numbers, email addresses, and website/Facebook information.
Email a scanned copy of the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail the completed form to: Maple Creek SK S0N 1N0, Box 1567.
Plan your art tour
To see a list of participating artists and venues, visit the Southwest Art Fest Facebook page, or http://www.visitcypresshills.ca/things-to-do/events/southwest-art-fest
As part of Southwest Art Fest, the Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery is already filling up its calendar for September.
So far, four artists will be holding receptions at the gallery:
• Susan Woolgar; abstract local landscape; September 3 & 4, 12 noon to 6pm;
• Karoll Dalcy Brinton; acrylic prairie landscape; September 10-11, 12-5pm;
• Gena Lacoste; western art; September 17-18, 12-5pm; and
* Lesley Boll/Schatz; artist/song-writer; September 24-25, 12-6pm.
The work of other gallery artists will be on display through the month. They include Richard Freely, Karen Filthaut, Andrew Kiss, Glen Scrimshaw, Neil Patterson, Jane Bueckert, Nikki Jacquin, and Mel Hoffer.
The Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre is planning a busy September.
Coinciding with Southwest Art Fest, the Centre’s three galleries will be featuring a two-month show of “Photographic Field Portraits of Contemporary Western Culture”, opening on August 1.
The work of four photographers will be displayed: Jon Bowie; Luis Fabini, Blake Little, and Sheila Spence.
On a day to be announced, Mark Vitaris, from Calgary, will be speaking about his book “Borderlands”. which is full of black-and-white photographs of the prairies. The book was inspired by the austere beauty and timeless quality of the northern Great Plains; it evolved from several projects and exhibitions, most notably a Land Beyond the River (2010), and Buffalo Hunting (2016).
Donny White, Jasper Board chair, said Vitaris would be appearing at an upcoming exhibition,
“Copies of his book will be on sale and he will talk about his experience in photography,” he said.
Also in September, the Jasper Centre will be putting on a harvest dance and concert. It will be held in the Legion at a date to be announced.