They’re off to the rodeo.
The West Fine Art Show – now in its sixth year – comes to this year’s Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair this weekend (May 15-18).
And organizers – and artists – Murray Phillips (president of the West Fine Art Show Society) and Brian Croft (vice-president) say they couldn’t be happier with the reception they have received at the new venue.
It seems like a natural fit for an art show that began life at former senator Gerry St. Germain’s Indian Springs Land and Cattle Co. Ranch and has specialized in works that provide inspired evocations of the landscape of Canada’s west.
That includes not only invited professional artists adept at interpreting nature and wildlife, but also others who evoke human interaction with the landscape, from ranching and settling to the evolution of the West’s urban areas.
“We have 19 artists of all varieties and styles and flavours of art – it’s an absolutely beautiful, very strong show,” said Croft, in a brief pause before setting up at the Cloverdale fairgrounds.
“Joining up with the rodeo for the first time has given it a really professional look from panelling to lighting,” he added.
“The rodeo people have been fantastic – we’ve never been in a venue where people have been more bending over backwards to make sure everything is right.”
That’s all the more important because – in addition to showcasing the artists, the intention of the non-profit society has always been to raise money for community causes, most notably the CH.I.L.D (Children with Intestinal and Liver Disorders) Foundation.
That fundraising association actually prompted the connection with the rodeo, Croft explained.
“The really neat thing that happened this year is that we were looking for another venue and this was suggested to us by CH.I.L.D.”
He added that 10 per cent of all art sales at the show will be split with CH.I.L.D and the rodeo’s own associated cause, the Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation.
In addition to the presence of many of the artists to meet and mingle with viewers of the show, musical entertainment will be provided by guitarist John Gilliat – who has become something of a West Fine Art Show fixture in recent years.
“He’s a fabulous flamenco player – and he’ll be working with us for all four days of the show, as well as at the launch party on Thursday,” Croft said.
In addition to Phillips – a passionate painter of the wilderness – and Croft, well-known for his atmospheric recreations of B.C.’s urban history, the show includes work by well-known guest artists Red Robinson (who sketched many of the personalities he has encountered during his broadcasting career) and fellow broadcaster Shell Busey.
Others featured will be landscape painters Gaye Adams, Roger Arndt, Carmel Clare, Anita Klein, Bryan Coombes, Susan Galick, Lalita Hamill, Mark Hobson, Tammy Hunter, Michael King, Doug Levitt, Kathy Mann, Ken Nash, Joe Smith, Joanne Finlay and landscape and still life artist Heidi Lambert.
There will also be a range of sculpture by Craig Benson, Brent Cooke, Loretta Kyle and Nathan Scott, and unusual jewelry pieces by June Bloye.
Also featured will be the West Coast-inspired acrylics of Esther Sample; and works by Paige Albrecht (cowboy-inspired graphites and oils); Glen Green (entertainment and sports people); equestrian experts Kim Penner and Joyce Trygg and wildlife specialists Judy Vanderveen and Jeffrey Whiting.
The West Fine Art Show will be open at the Alice Mackay Building during regular rodeo hours: 4-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday.