by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent
As Albertans are getting ready to celebrate Alberta Culture Days from Sept. 30 to Oct 2, we spoke with Morinville artist Jeannine Pauline Chalifoux, who has contributed decades of her time and work to the arts, history and culture of Morinville.
Chalifoux said she started painting in 1967 with artist Les Graf, then painted on her own until 1978. She is mainly self–taught and has also participated in art courses and workshops with several instructors, including Harry Savage, Paul Braid, Gisela Felsberg, Britta Seward and Pauline Pike.
Chalifoux was instrumental in forming the Morinville Art Club (a registered society). Chalifoux said the Morinville Art Club celebrated its 25th Anniversary as a registered club in May 2003. She served as President for 24 of those 25 years. She also designed the Club’s pin and was also responsible for organizing all the classes and workshops in various art media.
The Morinville Art Club hosted the 1986 and 1991 Alberta Community Art Clubs Association (ACACA) Northern Zone Juried Show and also held annual spring and fall art teas, Art in the Park and other events.
At three separate Zone Shows, a painting was chosen for the Alberta Wide Show in Red Deer, and for two consecutive years — 1989-1990 — received the University Of Alberta Faculty Of Education’s Lillian Nunn Scholarship.
Chalifoux also established the Kermaria Gallery, which was located on the second floor of the old convent, then known as the Morinville Historical and Cultural Centre. The gallery displayed artwork from the community but closed when the building became used for the museum and apartments.
In 1990, Chalifoux designed and painted a four-foot by eight-foot military-themed mural, which is still hanging in the Royal Canadian Legion in Morinville.
Inside the Musée Morinville Museum are two large matching tableaus depicting the history of the early settlers, both with artwork by Chalifoux. She painted both in 1991 commemorating Morinville’s Centennial.
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In 2009, she painted a tableau themed the Franco-German pioneers of Morinville. This tableau is hanging outside the entrance of the museum and is dedicated to the memory of the French Canadian and German pioneers of Morinville, and recognizing their hard work and tenacity in building the community together.
Chalifoux said she has exhibited paintings at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill dining room, the United States, Japan, Collection Gallery, Opperhauser Gallery, Stony Plain, Veggies International Cuisine in Edmonton, Anna’s Restaurant in St. Albert, the Misericordia Hospital Health Centre Art Enrichment group in Edmonton, and at the 1996 Heritage Festival with the ACFA.
Chalifoux, a Society Director of the Morinville Historical & Cultural Society for decades, also provided assistance in the history of some of the many vignettes in St. Jean Baptiste Park. She also has many of her paintings hanging in the museum.
The artist said she enjoys working with oils, watercolour, pen and ink, acrylic, but she said her favourite is still pastels.
Chalifoux has volunteered on the Town of Morinville Naming Committee, Frontier Daze Festival, and the Morinville Festival Society, and with the Catholic Women’s League. Her years of volunteerism earned her the Town of Morinville Volunteer of the Year Award for 1994 and 2008.
Both Chalifoux and her husband were involved with the Frontier Daze for years, and she was one of the five can-can girls named “Les Girls,” and he was the director and also played the piano. “We sang, danced and did funny things,” Chalifoux said.
Chalifoux was born Jeannine Pauline Cote in 1936 and was the second last of seven children born to Zoel Cote and wife Marie Dentinger. She grew up and went to school in Donnelly, a small town in Northern Alberta. In 1959 she married Norman Chalifoux on his birthday – May 18. They had two girls: Louise (born in 1961) and Jackie (born in 1965). The oldest followed in her father’s footsteps and is a pharmacist. The youngest is a massage therapist.
Currently, Chalifoux is Treasurer of the Morinville Art Club. She said she is only half a block from the bank, so if any banking needs to be done, it is easy for her to do.
She had to resign from the Morinville Festival Society two months ago as she said she was advised by her doctor to slow down.
She is still involved with the Musée Morinville Museum and is a Society Director for the Morinville Historical & Cultural Society.
“If we have a museum, it is thanks to Norm,” she said. Norm Chalifoux was instrumental in establishing and operating the museum in the former Notre Dame Convent until his death in 2004. A salon in the museum has been named in his honour. Norm also received the Citizen of the Year award in 1976 for his volunteerism.