The summer exhibit at the Station House Gallery celebrates people’s experiences of Williams Lake.
Featuring the work of 24 artists — some exhibiting at the gallery for the first time — the show honours how artists connect with the area, exhibit co-ordinator Liliana Dragowska said.
“Each piece is not only art, it shares the artists’ stories,” she said.
Earlier in the year, the gallery put out a call for artists to submit multi-media that would fall into the theme of My Williams Lake.
“Multi-media can be a challenge some times and the theme was broad, but we received 44 pieces — photography, jewellery, painting, felting, even artifacts,” she said.
Many of the artists have also provided generous written statements accompanying the pieces.
The exhibit also marks the city’s 85th birthday of incorporation and on Saturday the gallery hosted an afternoon celebration.
Dubbed Chew the Fat, the event boasted great food, entertainment, a silent auction, an opportunity to share stories, view the artwork and meet some of the artists.
No sooner had I arrived with camera and notebook in my hands, when a woman called me over and asked if I was looking for someone to interview.
“That’s Harvey Elsworth Overton,” as she pointed toward a table where Jean and Roy Wellburn were sitting.
Awkwardly I introduced myself to Overton, told him I was a reporter at the Tribune, and asked him to excuse my ignorance for not knowing who he was.
“I’ve only been here for a couple of years,” I told him.
I soon learned Overton is an artist who grew up in Williams Lake, living on South Lakeside.
In the past few decades, however, he has spent most of the year in Melbourne, Australia, returning each May to live in a stone “fantasy” house he built on his family’s property along the Fraser River.
When I asked how he ended up dividing his time between here and the land down under, he said his wife is from Australia.
He used to travel to Mexico to paint and met her there on one of his trips.
For the show, Overton contributed a large round painting of Williams Lake showing Scout Island, the lake and the mountains.
Pointing to its bent willow frame he told me he got the willow from Roger and May Getz who live at the very end of the lake.
Overton’s sister Caroline contributed a few pieces to the show, including paintings of the stone house.
I also met Elizabeth Hoelderl and talked with her about one of two pieces she has in the exhibit that depicts the view of the lake looking toward Sugar Cane.
“It was painted from the bench on the highest point of land at Scout Island,” she said, adding both of her daughters contributed pieces to the show as well.
At Christmas I purchased one of Hoelderl’s pastels for my parents so for me it was an honour to meet her and put a face to the artistry.
I hope to get back and view the show a few more times because there’s so much to see.
A painting of Dunlevy Dam by Meaghan Watkinson has inspired me to go see the scene in person and an old photograph of Jean Pearson Wellburn on the steps of the “Pot Shop” she and fellow potter Anne Monroe had in 1969 near Signal Point makes me want to see more historical photos from that time period.
Sheila Wyse contributed a bottle of wine brewed for the city’s Diamond Jubilee and an accompanying poem.
“They sold the wine outside the liquor store,” Dragowska chuckled.
Retired teacher and gallery president Kathryn Steen recalled her 25 years of teaching with a collage featuring names of students, while Heritage Committee member Mary Forbes shared a steamer trunk and some of the contents belonging to her grandfather Cyril Morgan.
Forbes wrote about his sad, but “hauntingly beautiful” story.
The exhibit runs until Aug. 30.
Dragowska said the Station House will gladly accept donations for a renovation project to replace rotting wood on the exterior of the building.