Twenty artists submitted twenty-five pieces of artwork to the exhibition. The winners and honourable mentions are pictured here alongside presenters and supporters. (Samantha Anderson)

Surrey artists ‘Paint the Train’ in inaugural celebration of heritage rail

Award-winning entries to tour Cloverdale in September, October

The winners of the first-annual Paint the Train competition were revealed at an artist reception this week at the Newton Cultural Centre.

The contest was created by the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society in partnership with the Arts Council of Surrey.

And no, it wasn’t a competition to see who could paint one of the lovingly restored interurban cars down at the Frank Horne Discovery Centre in Cloverdale, communications director Ray Hudson explained to Tuesday night’s audience. The contest was to see who could paint the best picture of a train, or, as it turned out, represent the history of the B.C. interurban railroad through any art medium — entries included fibre art, photography, and even a model made of LEGO.

Twenty artists submitted work to the contest, and a travelling exhibition featuring the award-winning pieces will soon make its way through Cloverdale.

Chair of the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society John Sprung said it was a “delight” to be able to put all the “marvelous talent on display.”

The society’s partnership with the Arts Council of Surrey began in the spring, he said. “We wanted to see how our artisans viewed the history and the romance in the early development of the Fraser Valley, the restoration of the 100-plus-year-old interurban cars, the tracks they ran on (and still do), the various pieces of railroad gear, the railroaders themselves in some cases, and the scenic panorama through which the trains travelled.”

“Now you will see by the results of this competition that it was nothing short of a spectacular success. The wide variety of the media, the amazing treatments of the subject matter are very exciting indeed, and, I can certainly say, very well done.”

Carol Giardi, president of the Arts Council of Surrey, said the council was “very happy” to partner with the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway for the project, and that she looks forward to future Paint the Train exhibitions.

First place winner Colin Pronger stands beside his winning 'River Bend' acrylic painting at the artist reception on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
First place winner Colin Pronger stands beside his winning ‘River Bend’ acrylic painting at the artist reception on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Samantha Anderson

Colin Pronger took first place in the competition with his acrylic painting, “River Bend,” featuring two people by a riverbank looking on as the Chilliwack interurban travels through the Fraser Valley.

Although most of the entries were paintings, there was an array of medium on display. Jun Zhao took second place for “On The Rail,” a work done in pencil and pen, and third place went to Elizabeth Aubert for a piece of fibre art, “Flowers at the Station.”

Community members can view the artwork as it travels through Cloverdale. It is scheduled to be displayed at the following times and locations:

  • Sept. 22–23: Surrey’s Heritage Rail, Highway 10 and 176A Street, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sept. 24–28: RBC Cloverdale branch, 17931 56 Avenue, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 29–30: Surrey’s Heritage Rail, Highway 10 and 176A Street, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Oct. 2–5: Surrey Archives lobby, 17671 56 Avenue, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 10–12: Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, 5748 176 Street, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 15–19: Honeybee Centre Beestro, 7480 176 Street, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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