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Wednesday, 20 January 2016 14:48

Lethbridge Artists Club’s 80th anniversary portrait competition show opens at CASA

Written by  Prairie Post
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Above, Ken Richards, Fran Hutton, and Gaylen Armstrong hang portraits at CASA, Jan. 15. Below, Alex Bakk from the Portrait Committee, was also on hand to help out with the portraits hanging. Above, Ken Richards, Fran Hutton, and Gaylen Armstrong hang portraits at CASA, Jan. 15. Below, Alex Bakk from the Portrait Committee, was also on hand to help out with the portraits hanging. Photo contributed

The Lethbridge Artists Club has unveiled its portrait competition entries as part of its 80th anniversary celebrations this year. The launch of the portrait competition honouring southwest Albertans took place Jan. 16 in the evening upstairs at CASA in Lethbridge.

“Twenty-one portraits of special citizens have been created to recognize their outstanding contributions to their communities,” says Linda Richards, with the club, in an e-mail.
Sketches of the honourees nominated from the community are on display in two CASA display cases. A third display case features a collection of historical paintings created by early members of the Lethbridge Sketch Club.
In 2002, this sketch club transformed into what is now the Lethbridge Artists Club. Lethbridge Artists Club members are from all over southwestern Alberta including Pincher Creek, Vauxhall, Barons, Granum, Lethbridge, Coaldale and Coalhurst.
The portrait competition, titled Faces of Significance, will be viewed and first judged between Jan. 16 to Feb. 20. Richards says nine portraits will be chosen by the judges to continue on tour along with a 10th portrait chosen by the People’s Choice balloting completed by viewers who come to CASA to see the exhibit.
The “Continuing 10” will be on display at Claresholm Library, Pincher Creek’s Lebel Mansion, Cardston’s Remington Carriage Museum and Coaldale Library through the spring. They will return to Lethbridge for display at the Galt Museum and Archives for a special exhibit May 7 to Oct. 3.
A second judging will take place at the Galt and on Aug. 11 a winner of the $500 first prize will be announced.
Three additional cash prizes will also be presented including two honourable mentions and the people’s choice.
The portrait competition kicked off in the fall of 2014 when the rules and timeline for the competition was announced. In January of last year, members of the club were invited to create portraits of remarkable citizens who deserved recognition.
“Citizens from across southwestern Alberta were nominated as honourees,” explains Richards. “They were invited, two at a time, to an evening of live modelling to be sketched by members of the club an artists who cared to join in.”
Twenty-five citizens were nominated and 22 of them were interviewed to create a biography. They were then introduced and sketched by anywhere from seven to 16 artists in an evening.
“Such beautiful sketches emerged that a commemorative catalogue was published to capture this art,” adds Richards. “The creme de la creme are the photographs of the 21 portraits, the biographies of the subjects and artists, and the photographs of the artists who created these portraits.”
When the sketches of the honourees were completed in June of 2015, artists started preparing formal portraits of the individuals they wished to honour.
“We should thank and honour people who have done much to improve our community and we should celebrate 80 years of existence for an artistic group that has … (offered) so much lovely art for the community and  so much learning and pleasure-in-creation for the members,” says Richards.
Now, members of the public can view the exhibit at CASA and vote for their favourite portrait until Feb. 20.
More information about the Lethbridge Artists Club and its 80th anniversary year can be found online at: https://

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