Grand Forks' art gallery is swarmed with curious learners during art week

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
April 26th, 2013

The Grand Forks and District Art and Heritage Centre has been alive with activity this week. The upstairs art gallery has seen hundreds of school children through the halls as part of the BC Arts and Culture Week.

Art week has been celebrated in a variety of venues over the past eight years, according to Erna Gobbett, who organized the event with Lizanne Eastwood. This is the first time it’s been at the art gallery. The gallery is full of work from local artists including paintings, quilts and sculptures.

The exhibits are open to the public, but most of their visitors have been from Grand Forks’ elementary schools. Volunteers took the children on tours and talked to them about the different kinds of art and how they are made. They also worked on crafts and played outside with Grand Forks’ Hip Sisters where they got to twirl ribbons, spin pie plates and toss batons.

The event is continuing over the weekend with the Grand Forks Choral Society performing Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. at Grand Forks Secondary School (GFSS).  Tickets are selling for $10.

Another concert is being held at GFSS as part of on Monday, April 29. Locals get a chance to see Michael Kevin Jones, a professional cellist that is finishing his world tour in Grand Forks. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets cost $20.

The exhibits at the gallery will be open to the public over the weekend during regular business hours.

New exhibit opens

Art week isn’t the only thing that’s been happening at the art gallery. They have also opened their latest, quarterly exhibit – The 70s. This flashback exhibit is bold and colourful. It will also make many long-time residents smile. Gallery organizers have found old photos of many residents from the 1970s and put them on display.  They’ve also collected retro clothing and set up a dark room with psychedelic lights.

“The kids love that,” said Tina Bryan, communications assistant.

The children that visited the art gallery for arts week got to try on clothes from the period, look for familiar faces in the old photos, learned about the technology of the time and raft races. They also thought a mannequin of John Travolta was Elvis Presley, said Bryan.

All of the items in the 70s exhibit have been donated by the community, said Bryan, adding the only thing they really had to purchase was posters.

Gallery members all came together to create a fun gallery for Boundary residents. It was Judith Lloyds vision, said Bryan, with Nora Curiston — an artist and gallery member — doing the wall art. Maureen Shields and Sandy MacKeller also helped the fresh idea to fruition.

“We really wanted something that would bring families in,” said Bryan. “We wanted a lot of people coming through.”

They opened the exhibit this week, to coincide with art week, but the official opening is May 11. They are hoping to host a fondue with wine for the official opening. The 70s exhibit will be open until August.