The St. Paul and District Arts Foundation played host to the Alberta Community Art Clubs Association (ACACA) North Zone Art Show on the weekend. The two-day show and sale featured paintings, sculptures, fibre arts, and digital pieces from artists across northern Alberta.

Guest jurors selected the top works in the various categories, and those works will go on to be featured in the Alberta-Wide art show in Camrose this August.

The Arts Foundation held a Students Showcase in conjunction with the ACACA show. Work by area students was shown in the foyer of Maggie Porozni Foundation for the Arts building alongside the ACACA gallery.

North Zone representative Hans Rohner said the artists and the ACACA executive members were impressed by St. Paul and its art facility. Rohner said the Maggie Porozni venue is unique among northern communities.

“I travel all over Alberta talking to clubs, and what I found in St. Paul is just there is no comparison,” he said. “St. Paul is very supportive of the arts.”

Rohner said St. Paul has the culture, the knowledge, and the people to establish itself as the art hub for northern Alberta, and the facility provides an excellent home for the arts community. “From dancing to visual arts to music and circus arts—this is all in this one building, and that’s literally unheard of. I have never seen that before,” he said.

St. Paul and District Arts Foundation artist-in-residence Eric Spoeth said the weekend-long event made a big impression on visitors.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive things, especially from ACACA,” he said. “They’ve done these shows in the past and they know what goes into it. And I think this is new territory for them, I think—to try to reach out to other members of the community who might not have the resources. For instance, the high school and junior high school students from the area having their work on the wall even though it’s not part of the show is something that I think will influence future shows.”

He said the Foundation stands to gain some revenue from the ACACA weekend, but the lasting benefit will be the stature and the reputation they have earned from hosting the show.

“It’s given the art foundation a bit of a foot in the door of visual arts shows. The fact that we can pull something like this off successfully means that other people are looking at this venue and saying, ‘we can’t find something like this in Edmonton, we can’t find something like this elsewhere. This might be a great future hosting site.’”

“And as for the town, it’s just another thing to help St. Paul be known as a place which encourages and supports visual artists,” Spoeth said. “We have very well-known artists, but we also have those lesser-known artists that are almost like islands in the community. And giving them visibility just shows how much we have here in terms of artwork.” 

The gallery show opened with a harp and dance performance by Natalie Beland and Lynda Young. Beland performed background music while people admired the artwork. JEFF GAYE
St. Paul mayor Maureen Miller welcomed the artists and visitors to the Maggie Porozni building. JEFF GAYE
ACACA North Zone representative Hans Rohner explained the jury process for attendees and art buyers. JEFF GAYE
The featured art works sparked interest, admiration, and conversation. JEFF GAYE