Museum exhibit celebrates the Elk River

On June 17, the Fernie Museum is opening their next exhibit, Currents, which is described as an artistic exploration of the Elk River.

On June 17, the Fernie Museum is opening their next exhibit, Currents, which is described as an artistic exploration of the Elk River.

The exhibit will feature a range of work all dedicated to the Elk River. According to museum director, Ron Ulrich, the exhibit is intended to celebrate the local waterway.

“The exhibit, Currents:  An Artistic Exploration of the Elk River, is an exhibit which focuses first and foremost on place making and identity, and the Elk River figures prominently in our sense of community identity and throughout our history, including the use of the river by the Ktunaxa,” he said. “Water, as we increasingly become aware, is a precious commodity.  We are fortunate that we live so close to the source of this historic waterway and ensuring that this vital commodity is protected is also part of the messaging of this exhibit.  The historic flooding of the Elk and some of the current strategies to mitigate flood damage are highlighted, for example.”

“The Fernie Museum has a vital role in communicating a sense of place and identity to its visitors.   As curator of a community museum, I am very interested in exploring how our natural landscape informs our sense of identity and how we see ourselves in ‘this place’ and how we interact with ‘this place’.  We wouldn’t be here without the river,” he continued.

A variety of artistic mediums, including oil paintings, pottery and metal sculptures, among others, will be showcased. Many Fernie-based artists are also participating in the exhibit, including Angela Morgan, Patrick Markle and Sandra Barrett, among many others. All of the pieces in the exhibit were created by local artists.

“As curator, one of the exciting things is to see how an exhibit evolves throughout the development process – new ideas, new perspectives, new information comes to light that can dramatically change the final product that we present to the public.  We had scheduled an exhibit along this theme a year and a half ago,” said Ulrich. “Originally, we had intended to focus much more on the history and ecology of the river, but shifted the focus to how artists view the river as an important part of our natural landscape within the last six months.  We were pleased that we made that shift. It allows us to explore a number of perspectives and viewpoints.”

In conjuction with the exhibit, the Fernie Museum will be hosting two rafting adventures on the Elk River, provided by the Canyon Raft Company. They will also host a workshop dedicated to fly fishing and a watercolour painting workshop with Pamm Ciupa. More information on the events is available at the museum’s website, Ferniemuseum.com.

The exhibit is scheduled to open on June 17 at 7 p.m.