BACS celebrates Alberta Culture Days with opening of Euphemia McNaught Tribute

"Beaverlodge and Surrounding Area," painted in 1970 by Beaverlodge’s celebrated artist, Euphemia McNaught, is one of a significant collection of the artist’s paintings to be displayed at the Art and Culture Centre opening Sunday, Sept. 29 in conjunction with Alberta Culture Days. Submitted

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A province-wide celebration of art and culture is being launched by the Government of Alberta Sept. 27-29 and the Beaverlodge Art and Culture Centre is jumping in with both feet on Sept. 29 with a grand tribute show to honour the life and legacy of our celebrated pioneering artist, Euphemia McNaught.

Alberta Culture Days is an annual event giving us the opportunity to discover, experience and celebrate arts and culture through local events and activities across the province. It is Alberta’s largest celebration of arts, heritage, diversity and community spirit.

The arts are alive and well in our Peace River region and without a stretch of the imagination, Euphemia (Betty) McNaught has played an inspiring role in championing the arts in northern Alberta, and beyond, and we are now fortunate to reap the benefits with the current level of artistic talent we see here today.

We felt that paying tribute to the Peace Region’s earliest distinguished artist and celebrating her contribution to the rich artistic tapestry in the province would be a significant way to participate in Alberta Culture Days.

An earlier call to owners of Betty’s art has resulted in a tremendous response locally and as far as Victoria, B.C. The entire main level of the art centre will showcase decades of her work, including some rare pieces that have never before been shown in public, including her one and only known abstract piece.

Euphemia (Betty) McNaught, is proudly considered the Peace Region’s Pioneer Artist. As well as being a prolific painter for eight decades, she instructed many art classes and played a significant role in the development of the Beaverlodge Art and Culture Centre and the Beaverlodge Art Club. Submitted

Betty was greatly influenced by Canada’s Group of Seven with Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald of the Group being two of her instructors at the Ontario College of Art where she studied between 1925 and 1929. Her use of bold colour and the emphasis on our region’s wilderness became the core of her own art throughout her long and productive career. Her love of horses and other animals figure prominently in her considerable body of work.

Visitors are invited to the Centre on Sunday, September 29 for the opening reception of the McNaught Tribute Show in conjunction with Alberta Culture Days weekend where speakers will illuminate Betty’s life and lasting contribution to the arts and patrons can view a outstanding collection of the artist’s life work.

Then get your painting hand limbered up! Children and adults will have an opportunity to participate in recreating one of Euphemia’s paintings—mural sized! Climb the stairs to the upper level of the Centre to the Beaverlodge Art Club studio where local artist and art instructor, Janet Enfield, will hand you a brush and encourage you to allow your inner Euphemia to shine through. No painting experience required!

To top off the celebration, a buffet of hors d’oeuvres will be catered by Goodfare chef Thomas Kiesewetter and his wife Elke and served in the Pink Tea Room.

The opening reception at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29 commemorates Alberta Culture Days but the tribute doesn’t stop there; the public can view the celebrated artist’s work free of charge until Oct. 24.

Submitted by Cathrine Gabriel