International Artist Day founder Chris MacClure and guest artist Dave Benning enjoy a birthday glass of wine with 'Pablo Picasso' at the Oct. 25 gala – which also marked Picasso's birthday.

White Rock celebrates world-wide art event

International Artists Day gala, at the Pop-Uptown Gallery, was 'photo-bombed' by Picasso

It’s not all that easy to wish a 135-year-old artist ‘happy birthday’ face to face.

But Tuesday evening, at the City of White Rock’s Pop Uptown Gallery, Pablo Picasso was there – as large as life, or perhaps a little larger.

The Oct. 25 occasion was the anniversary of the birth, in Malaga, Andalusia, of the revolutionary 20th-century artist, father of cubism and possibly the man who did the most to focus public attention on the role of the artist in modern society.

It was also White Rock’s third annual International Artist Day Gala – local celebration of the annual event created by city artist Chris MacClure – and Picasso attended courtesy of the talents of one of the most popular local participants, pop-culture portrait specialist Dave Benning.

The U.K.-born painter, who offers classes in Crescent Beach, created a typically arresting acrylic of the venerable Pablo as one of the focal points of the gala – and an opportunity opportunity for participants to have their photo taken toasting the legendary artist on his birthday.

“It was a lot of fun, painting that,” Benning told The Peace Arch News of the portrait, which captures the personality of Picasso – and his weathered physiognomy – in his later years.

“I knew it would be hung against a white wall, so I gave it a white background and I measured him against my head so it would be the right scale and proportions.”

The gala, well-attended, if on a smaller scale than previous events at White Rock Community Centre, was a chance to sample wine, appies, birthday cake and animated conversation, punctuated by the creative guitar music of James Devon.

It also offered a last opportunity for art lovers to snap up the remaining 12-inch-by-12-inch original works of art created by well-known local artists, but exhibited anonymously – a complete steal at $150 per canvas.

Also on exhibit were paintings by Benning, David Patterson and Marilyn Hurst, as well as one of the most recent works by MacClure – Silver Sea, an evocative coastal landscape.

MacClure, happily recovered from a recent bout of ill health due to a post-operative leg infection, welcomed participants with a few brief words to the celebration which he originally sparked in 2004 and which has since taken on a life of its own around the world.

IAD publicist Maurice Cardinal told attendees that International Artist Day, established to celebrate “the heart and soul” of artists around the world, has been picked up in some 24 countries including the US (where it has received recognition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Russia, Puerto Rico and such Middle Eastern nations as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

But the intention of the White Rock-born event is not simply to celebrate art and artists elsewhere, Cardinal pointed out.

“We want to introduce this part of the world to the rest of the world,” he said. “We want to know what you think and why you buy art – and we want to exchange that information with other people around the world.”

This year’s month-long IAD festival in the city has provided an opportunity to video interviews with and presentations by participating artists, he noted, which will be distributed online in coming months.

“I hope you continue to support the IAD festival,” he said. “One of our focuses will on the use of social media so that (local art) becomes part of the community – that’s what we really want here.”

 

There are still more IAD events at the Pop-Uptown Gallery before the 2016 festival winds down this weekend – including an appearance Oct. 29 at noon by White Rock author Rod Lamirand, reading from a new novel he wrote on the festival’s site over the last month.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Edgewood Elementary at 16666 23 Ave., behind the City of Surrey’s operations building, is to open in January 2021. (File photo)
New catchment areas for South Surrey elementaries

Changes to take effect as pair of new schools open, starting next week

The B.C. electoral district of Surrey-Cloverdale. (Image via Elections B.C.)
Voter turnout down across Surrey-Cloverdale

Turnout across the province down from 2017

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. (The Canadian Press/Niaid-Rml via AP image)
COVID-19 exposure at Sands Secondary in North Delta

The case marks the seventh exposure at a school in Delta since classes resumed in September

sign
‘Camp Covid’ for Halloween at Surrey home where decorator ponders trick-or-treat numbers

Dr. Henry: ‘This is not the year we’re going to have hundreds of kids going to hundreds of houses’

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Glenn Rose

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

File Photo
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Agassiz Seniors Community

First declared outbreak in Agassiz-Harrison since pandemic began

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

The family and friends of Abbotsford resident Kaitlyn Cassels have launched a GoFundMe for her after she suffered serious injuries following a bad fall on Thursday night. (Submitted)
GoFundMe created for Abbotsford woman after horrible fall

19-year-old Kaitlyn Cassels suffers many injuries after falling 27 feet off Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

Most Read