A slice of Boreal life through art

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by JURA MCILRAITH

The upcoming Boreal Shores Art Tour offers a free, self-guided road trip to view art of any form imaginable in Eastern Manitoba.

Coming back after the pandemic for its fourth year, the art tour is a way to see many local artists’ works in places like Hadashville, Falcon Lake, Whitemouth, Pinawa, Powerview, Pine Falls, Albert Beach, Sandy Bay and Beaconia.

Thirty-eight artists are participating this year, creating pieces with wood, stained glass, acrylic and oil paint, watercolours, fabrics, metal, jewelry, pottery, and photography.

The art tour allows them to show off their unique pieces, answer questions about their process and potentially sell some pieces.

“You can go to as many or as few as you like,” said artist and publicity volunteer for the tour, Mary Louise Chown. “People that try to do as much as possible take two days and sometimes they stay over at a bed and breakfast or go home, and they drive out again.”

Chown is participating in the Boreal Shores Art Tour for the third time. Situated on a farm just outside of River Hills, she uses a variety of mediums to create her art, including acrylic and oil paints, cold wax, and even oral story telling.

“I got into storytelling, and it was my main art form for decades, but when we moved to the farm, I had space to have a studio, so I hauled out my paints and kind of had to relearn some of it because I hadn’t done it for a while,” she said.

In her studio, filled with paints, easels, frames and brushes, she explained the process of her art. “Most of my work always turns into something else. I start with an idea or a colour and I’ve learned to go ‘What will you be?’ and it kind of tells me.”

Chown says that participating in art is an important aspect of life. Creating something, no matter how good it turns out, goes deeper than you think.

“It goes right down into your subconscious, into your spirit,” she said. “Images are deeper than words although we’re always talking.”

Chown is excited for the art tour to return. Even though her artwork is not made with reaction in mind, she loves answering questions about her process, workspace, and letting the viewers into world.

She says this is a great opportunity for Manitobans to see local artists and visit parts of the province they may have never been before.

The Boreal Shores Art Tour runs on August 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and August 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pick up an art tour passport at the first stop, fill it out at each new spot and put it in the draw at the last stop for a chance to win a prize.

A contest is being held for the artists as well. They have been challenged to create a work of art centred around the theme of ‘a Boreal slice of life’. Use the passports to vote for the best interpretation in each of the three regions. Votes will be tallied after the tour, and the winning artist from each region will be announced.

For a full list of artist locations and directions, visit borealshoresarttour.ca. A downloadable brochure is available online, or at select locations along the tour route.

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