Fernie Artography, an art exhibit showcasing work from 20 local artists, will be on display upstairs at the Fernie Museum until September. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

20 local artists, five distinct themes

A summer-long art exhibit has opened at the Fernie Museum

On June 15, the Fernie Museum opened their doors to their summer-long art exhibit, Fernie Artography, which showcased the spirit of Fernie.

Paintings and photographs were categorized into five themes: Our Rocky Mountain Playground, Our Human Landscapes, Public and Private Spaces, Island Lake and Cedar Valley and The Elk River.

“We wanted to define those themes, those places, that are iconic,” said Fenie Museum Curator, Ron Ulrich.

Although there were specific categories, each artists interpretation of a theme was so different, no wall contained a similar work of art.

Work was selected from 20 local artists including Pamm Ciupa, Mark Locki, Vanessa Croome, Laura Nelson, Melanie MacVoy, Tara Higgins, Marla DeBoon, Carol Cohen, Kyle Hamilton, Michael Hepher, Morgan Dunnet, Jim Geddis, Megan Haeulser, Jamie Hide, Anne Aitken Anderson, Brina Schenk, Becca Musso and Patrick Markle.

Last year, the museum hosted a similar show, the Elk River exhibition. These two shows are similar in that they encourage the viewer to explore the scene both physically and artistically.

Brina Schenk had one painting on display, and it was based on a memory she had from the pumpkin hunt in early fall of last year. A wide open forest scene with soft light and blowing leaves, with a small crowd of people subtly placed in the background. At the time she remembered seeing faces she recognized, wherever she looked. Because of this, she named this piece, ‘Where we gather’. Schenk acknowledged that this speaks to Fernie’s small-town attributes.

With respect to the art show, Schenk was inspired.

“It’s so nice to see everyone’s take on the same place,” she said.

Ulrich is excited to see a rise in participation in art shows around town, especially at the museum. He was also encouraged to see artists try out new techniques, and showcase them there for the first time. He believes this speaks to the strength of art in the area.

“We’re really seeing the growth of arts, and culture and heritage in Fernie,” said Ulrich.

Considering art shows from the past, Ulrich has recently seen some long-time artists such as Patrick Markle, who has begun to make a name for himself in the area and expand his artwork into other communities.

“They’ve put their time in, they’ve done these shows for years, and it’s nice to see them move on to other communities and making a way as an artist,” said Ulrich. “I think shows like this are important for artists in our community to begin to develop their style, try out new things, to get some exposure in the local community.”