Aurora Art Group prepares for annual show and sale

Matt Gardner
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If art is a path to self-expression, displaying one’s artwork publicly can be an intimidating experience.

A member of the Aurora Art Group, local artist Alecia Stevens underscored that tension in advance of the group’s annual show and sale.

“Painting has become a means to be self-aware and to express what lies within to the outside world,” Stevens wrote in a letter she brought to an interview. “This is a bit scary because it leaves an artist feeling exposed and vulnerable. I am sure my fellow Aurora artists would agree.

“Yet, in showing our works of art, it liberates us. It is exciting to create. It is a part of who we are. By expressing ourselves through our diverse personalities and styles, we grow and change to become all we were meant to be.”

The group show and sale will take place on Friday at the Prince Albert Arts Centre from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 each, with a glass of wine costing $5.

Each year, the sale serves as an opportunity for members to display their work from the last year to the public.

“There’s no theme or title,” Stevens said. “But it is Mother’s Day and we tend to have our shows in around that time, for whatever reason … Spring is coming, winter’s over -- good time to have an art show and (for) people (to) get out and do something fun and socialize.”

There are currently an estimated 12 members in the Aurora Art Group, which includes both painters and photographers ranging in age from their early 20s to their 70s.

Noted Prince Albert artist Christina Thoen helped teach many of the members, while others have taken lessons and workshops in recent years to further improve their craft.

Though members generally paint individually in their homes, occasionally the group will meet to paint together.

“When we are gearing up for the art show, we meet more often and we get together and plan for the show,” Stevens said. “But basically, it’s not like we’re meeting regularly to get together and paint -- although this year has been an exception, I guess. We’ve made more of a point of renting some space and getting together and doing that.”

She noted that different artists often work better under different conditions.

We’re passionate about being creative, so it’s a nice outlet for us and it’s a fun evening. Alecia Stevens

“Some of us paint better alone at home in our own -- play our own music or whatever we want to do -- and some thrive on getting together,” Stevens said. “I do a lot of socializing when I’m together, but it’s fun because … you get encouraged by each other and you see what everybody else is working on.

“You get ideas and it’s helpful, because I can point out, ‘Oh, hey, you should change this, or maybe if you did that that’d be really cool.’ So we can help each other out that way.”

Art that will be on display at the upcoming show contains a diverse array of styles and subject matter.

Versatile group member Susie Prakash, for example, will showcase both watercolour and oil-based paintings in her second year displaying her work with the group.

Meanwhile artist Mary McLeod has tackled both abstract and realistic subjects using soft pastels and acrylics.

“She’s kind of like the heart of the group,” Stevens said of McLeod. “She’s the one who gets us organized and going and a lot of positive energy flows out of her into the rest of us.”

For the first time, catering at the event will be handled by Shananigan’s, freeing group members to take care of other tasks in preparing the show.

Guest artists for 2014 include Mary Jane Graham and Naomi McNeice, whose work will be displayed alongside that of the dozen Aurora members.

Group members will bring their paintings to the Arts Centre on Friday for the display, which lasts only one day.

“Everybody brings their paintings and they’re all lined up on the wall, and I’m a part of that process of hanging them up -- which I love, because I love to see what people have done,” Stevens said.

Drawing inspiration from fellow artists is a major part of the group’s appeal, she noted.

“The people that are in this group really love what they’re doing, and we do it because of that,” she said.

“We’re passionate about being creative, so it’s a nice outlet for us and it’s a fun evening.”

Organizations: Aurora Art Group, Prince Albert Arts Centre

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