Another Encore: art show and sale celebrates 20 years

Geff Blenkinsopp of Eleri Creations starts cutting out a copper maple leaf during last year's Encore Art Show and Celebration of Creative Expression. Eleri Creations will be amongst artists returning to the show this year. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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There will be a little extra celebration at this year’s Encore Art Sale and Celebration of Creative Expression.

On April 26-27, Lacombe’s premiere arts event will return to the Lacombe Memorial Centre for its 20th anniversary, and see even more artists and artwork decorate Centennial Hall than ever before.

“We’re absolutely packed this year,” said Maureen MacKenzie, event coordinator and the City of Lacombe’s community services executive assistant.

“Typically I’d have about four less booths in the same space just so people have more room to sit back, have a glass of wine and see things, but with this being the 20th anniversary, we thought we’d change things up and put more booths in and offer more artwork to the general public.”

Over the past two decades, the art sale and exhibit has blossomed into one of the more anticipated arts events, not only within the community, but within the province. For some, it’s the only arts show they’ll attend, and for others, it’s the kick-off to their selling season, and the best time to offer people the opportunity to inject a little colour into their homes after what is an often a dull and dreary winter.

“It’s typically the first art sale or big arts event of the year for a lot of people because it is held in April,” said MacKenzie. “Because it’s spring time, yards and fields are too mucky to get into so it gives people something to do, to get out of the house and see something different.”

While some artists return year after year in what is a juried art show, she says the goal is to always offer something fresh for patrons, whether they’ve been attending for the last 15 years, or the last five. Sometimes that means jurying out some returning artists to bring in new ones, but it can also include different activities during the event.

New this year is a paint-off on the Friday at 7 p.m., where five different artists – including central Albert Art Battle winner Sandy Roenspies – spread throughout Centennial Hall will have just an hour to create a full-size painting. After, the paintings will be displayed in the LMC’s main foyer, and those in attendance will have opportunity to bid on the pieces until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday as part of a silent auction.

The idea to hold a paint-off came from Edmonton’s Night of Artists (NoA), which MacKenzie attends.

“It’s always been very well received…People get to see the creative process underway and see how paintings evolve,” she said.

“The nice thing is with having the artists situated around Centennial Hall, people can watch the artists paint and still circulate around, visit the other artists and their booths and make purchases at the same time.”

A total of about 40 artists will have their paintings, drawings, photography, sculptures and more on display and for sale over the course of the two-day event.

Chief among the artists will be featured artist Donna Spencer, who is a local ceramicist. Spencer will speak at 2 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday about what inspires her, giving insight into her own creative process.

“She always travels with her camera – she gets the neatest pictures. She’ll see stuff a lot of us won’t see and interprets that into her artwork,” said MacKenzie. “Her talks are going to be very interesting and probably pretty fun, too….Donna has a great sense of humour.”

The student showcase –featuring 30 pieces from 18 different local student artists – will also among the booths.

“As always, their work is absolutely amazing,” she said. “Every year, I’m just so thrilled with what the students produce – they’re so talented.”

This year, both the student art awards and Arts Endowment awards will be given out on the Saturday at 4 p.m., which MacKenzie says is fitting given proceeds from the art sale itself go towards the Arts Endowment fund and supporting budding artists in the community.

Students will also be among those providing musical entertainment during the event, including Clint Colegrave, Kathryn Fakeley, Brooklyn Figursky and Caleb Lockhart on Friday. Harbour, Reef and Nautical Pearl Lehocky will perform on Saturday.

For the older crowd, Sip n’ Shop will return in the evening from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday,  where patrons can browse while enjoying wine and brews.

Good Neighbour Coffee will also have a pop-up shop set up in AnnaMaria’s Café during the event.

Admission to the event is $5, and free for children under 12 years of age. The show runs from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday, and 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The art sale and show also coincides with the annual Spring Trade Show.

For more information, visit the Encore Art Show & Sale Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/406674006743278/permalink/453040552106623/ or visit https://www.lacombetourism.com/events/encore-lacombe-annual-art-exhibit-sale/.

abarrett@postmedia.com

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