Ray Prévost describes the painting during Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon’s visit three weeks ago. JEFF GAYE

When the new addition to Bonnylodge opens next month, residents will find themselves treated to a huge, beautiful painting depicting one of the most characteristic scenes of prairie life.

The Tadeusz Warszynski painting, “The Prairie Church of Buster Galloway,” is a gift to the residents from the project architect Janusz Najfeldt and his wife Helena. It shows a grain elevator at harvest time against a brilliant blue Alberta sky.

“The painting in the lodge is a tribute to Lyle Victor Albert,” said Ray Prévost, a Bonnyville town councillor and vice-chair of the Lakeland Housing foundation.

Albert is a playwright and actor who grew up on a farm near Bonnyville. The town’s performing arts venue was named after him when it was constructed in 1982. The theatre has since been demolished.

“This young man was the youngest of eight kids in the Albert family,” Prévost said. “His mom actually lives in the lodge.”

The painting takes its name from one of Albert’s comedies. The play is about an elevator agent with a 40-year-old debt to repay. “I saw that play in Bonnyville many years ago,” Prévost said. “[Albert] was in the room, and the actors gave a spectacular performance.”

Albert has performed around the world including at the famed Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. 

Warszynski earned a Masters degree in music in Gdansk, Poland, before moving to Edmonton. According to his biography, he received a Master of Art in Printmaking at the University of Alberta, where he has taught printmaking studio courses since 1993. His work has won many awards in North America, Europe, and Asia.