Eganville celebrates Park Art 0
EGANVILLE - The drought may have shrank the mighty Bonnechere River to a creek but that didn't dampen the spirits of folks who turned out to celebrate Centennial Park here Saturday.
The village hosted the third annual Park Art festival, a venue that showcased the talents of some 43 local artisans, food vendors and musicians.
Under sunny skies with no hint of rain in the forecast, people wandered through the park, now covered in yellowed patches where green grass once grew, and took in the collection of works from some of the most talented artists in Renfrew County.
"We have some really talented people around here," said event coordinator Hilary Robinson. "It's all about building an arts community."
Park Art was widely endorsed by the artists who displayed original art, pottery, crafts and jewelry designed by their hand. This was the first time that Jelly Massee, who runs HomeStead Gallery in Chapeau, has presented her portfolio at the fledgling event.
Among her works were images of Ottawa Valley steamships and streetscapes from years gone by. One of her favourites was a portrait of two fiddlers who played on their porch after church every Sunday and a poignant acrylic painting of three workers who died when the Rolphton hydro dam bridge collapsed in 1948.
Ms. Massee took up painting after retiring from Chalk River Laboratories three years ago. She said she always loved the concept of combining history with art.
"There' so many pictures that are in archives that are of such poor quality," she said. "If I reproduce them in paint or pen and ink then I preserve them for generations to come."
In another corner of the park, Kathrin Winkler, a retired teacher from Bishop Smith Catholic High School, was selling works of art in hopes of donating proceeds for a girls school in rural India. Visiting India in support of Ekta Parishad, a grassroots development organization, she finished several black-and-white ink drawings while visiting India while conducting art classes for local students.
Her paintings, which show a mixture of European and aboriginal influence, sends a message of being interconnected with nature. Hanging above her work was a colourfully painted cloth mural that her Indian students finished before she returned to Canada. It holds a special message for those who gaze upon it, Ms. Winkler noted.
"It's about walking together and how people in solidarity can really achieve change," she said. "It was meant to be here between these trees today."
Park Art was extended to 11 p.m. for the first time this year. Among the entertainers performing at the Ampitheatre were Ray Chapeskie and Shirley Watson, Faster Than Plaid, James Ferguson, Paul Wright, Brenda Zohr and Beth Dobson. That night, Kevin Martin performed his fire show, while Professor Crookshank's Travelling Medicine Show was in town.
Coinciding with the festival was a fossil hunt on the exposed bed of the nearby Bonnechere River. Later, the Bonnechere Museum displayed a large Cephalopod, the ancestor to the modern-day Octopus. Chris Hinsperger, owner of Bonnechere Caves, said the festival, along with the low water levels, presents an opportune time to attract visitors, especially those fossil hunters.
"They just want to learn the geology of their area but a lot of them want
a rural experience," said Mr. Hinsperger. "We enjoy sharing our park and our river with people. The Ottawa Valley is full of cool things."
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist