“It’s always a really exciting time for artists. A lot of artists who participate in this exhibition don’t necessarily have the opportunity to exhibit in a professional space,” gallery educator Twyla Exner said. “The evening celebrates the artists and their friends and family get to come and see the work.”
On average, about 200 people attend the festival’s reception each year.
“We have the whole centre booked, because … we do have about 200 people here, so it’s quite busy,” Exner said. “It’s one of our biggest events of the year. Normally, our receptions -- when we have an opening for an exhibition -- we’ll have 60-80 people. To have 200 is quite a bit more. We don’t usually require the whole centre.”
Each artist was allowed to submit two pieces of visual artwork. This year’s juror, Alison Norlen, selected pieces for 12 different awards, which were sponsored by community organizations.
The Mayor’s Prize and Best of Show Award was presented to Paul Trottier for his acrylic on canvas painting “Riverside Glow.” Ken Van Rees claimed second prize with charcoal on watercolour paper piece “Burnt Forest Revival, Davin Lake” and Greg Hargarten earned an honourable mention for 2013 work “Spring in Cypress Hills.”
In addition to announcing the award winners, the Mann Art Gallery also revealed which works had been purchased for its permanent collection.
“We’re usually just a public gallery and we borrow artwork from artists and pay them a fee. But tonight, because this is kind of a special members local exhibition, we do have the works for sale on behalf of artists,” Exner said. “People can make purchases right through the end of the exhibition.”
The price of works for this year’s show varies greatly, with the lowest going for $35 and the most expensive priced at $20,000.
“There is a rule that in order to enter the exhibition, your work has to be for sale,” Exner said.
Work is on display in the main gallery, hallway space and studio. While some people might believe the best work on display for the festival is located in the main gallery, Exner said that’s not accurate.
“The history of programming in this community has conditioned people to think that way,” she said. “Work is selected based on a variety of reasons.”
Norlen will be holding a juror’s talk and walkthrough tour Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A technical painting workshop will be held Sunday with artist Iris Hauser. The exhibition will last until March 23.