By Étienne Thevou
Morinville – Oscar Wilde may have argued that life imitates art far more than art imitates life, but for several hours Saturday night art was put on full display to support life. The second annual Celebrating Life and Culture gala packed the lobby and mezzanine of the Morinville Community Cultural Centre with Morinville’s movers and shakers all dapperly dressed in keeping with the posh affair. A total of nineteen artists put their work into the show, giving wine-tasting socialites something to gaze at while raising funds for the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation.
As in its inaugural offering the Celebrating Life and Culture gala – the brainchild of Morinville businesswoman and volunteer of the year Noreen Radford – sought to raise money for the community hospital by bringing young local artists together with art lovers. Adding in an opportunity to taste a little quality wine and scintillating hors d’oeuvres left art lovers with something to truly clink their glasses about.
A number of young Morinville artists participated in the show, including Morinville Community High School student Rory Turner. Turner, who also participated in last year’s event, said he felt there were more pieces on display this year. “It’s always exciting to have a growing event if it’s going to be yearly,” Turner said, noting he would have liked to have seen a greater representation of other local high school artists.
With respect to his own contributions to this year’s showing, Turner said the style was somewhat different than last year’s entry, which he described as having a surreal quality to the piece. But as to other artists on display, Turner said he is always impressed with the work of fellow artist Karen Cassidy. “I love Karen Cassidy,” he said. “I aspire to be like her.”
But Turner was not the only one left impressed with the art on display. Former councillor and Morinville resident Joseph Trapani said he liked what he saw on the walls and easels of the cultural centre. “I think it’s fascinating,” Trapani said of the different styles of art on display. “What I’m really fascinated about is what the artist was thinking when they were doing these pictures. Was it sorrow? Was it happiness?” Trapani said without the artist present to discuss the work, patrons would be left to their own imaginations.
What is not hard to imagine, however, is the generosity of those who paid to attend the event and the many local businesses who donated to the cause, each of whom was recognized in both print and in words.
Event Coordinator Doug Campbell said he was very pleased with how things turned out this year. “This year’s event is going quite well,” Campbell said during the event, noting the quality of art work assembled for the event was quite good. Campbell explained although artists were able to sell their work, the focus of the evening was the showing of art. Rather, the majority of funds raised came through admission and donations. “Very successful in the area of corporate support this year,” Campbell said. “The businesses in Morinville stepped up in terms of supporting this event, which I think will prove now that we can hold such an annual event here in Morinville.”
In addition to being pleased with the quality of art and the quality of support, Campbell said he was pleased with the quality of the venue. “We’ve come a long way since the Parish Hall for our first year, and the fact that we can use the cultural centre here in Morinville to display the art of local artists is really meaningful,” he said. “Having the high school kids here who are once again participating in the show is another reason why we have this kind of event in Morinville.”
Although amounts raised at the event were not available prior to publication deadline, Campbell said during the event he anticipated figures to be in excess of $10,000, approximately $3,000 more than was raised in 2010. Funds are targeted toward digital operating theatres at the Sturgeon Community Hospital. Campbell said the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation is looking to raise $250,000 to upgrade existing operating suites at the St. Albert hospital into higher tech suites allowing more operations and surgeries that are not as invasive, allowing less time on the operating table and less time in recovery.
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