Recent History – 2001
Oct. 17, 2001
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
The Dawson Creek Art Gallery could not have been a more perfect setting for the latest exhibit to grace its walls — nor could the timing have been any better.
The 20th anniversary of the gallery is being celebrated this year, and as part of the festivities, “Vanishing Icons,” a collection of works dedicated to a once familiar landmark — the grain elevator — opened Tuesday evening.
Much of the exhibit consists of watercolours by Karen Brownlee and oil paintings by RFM McInnis. Brownlee, from Lethbridge, depicts the physical and social relationships the elevators have with their communities while McInnis, from Nanton, has long been fascinated by form and spatial relationship.
There is a photography component — a collection of 25 images that depicts elevators in their various shapes, sizes and conditions, as well as some of the people who work at them.
If you ever wanted to learn the difference between a single composite, slip-form concrete and a pre-cast buffalo slope elevator, this exhibit is the source.
There are also several sculptures, in the form of pottery and clay model, a video, entitled “Vanishing Giants” and a photo album depicting the moving of the Dawson Creek elevator to its present location that now houses the art gallery.
Art gallery manager Ellen Corea first encountered the show about a year ago in the Grande Prairie Art Gallery. It’s been travelling throughout Alberta but in smaller components.
“We were so intrigued by it and wanted it so badly,” she said. “We were very lucky because the curator in Grande Prairie pulled the whole show together, and it probably hasn’t been shown altogether except for maybe some of the larger galleries in Alberta.”
The exhibit not only highlights a landmark that has been becoming less seen on the prairie skyline but also helps acknowledge the city’s success in saving at least one elevator in Dawson Creek.
“This is one of the very first elevators that was saved, for heritage,” Corea said. “There’ve been other elevators in the prairies that have been saved, we know that, but a lot of them have been saved as museums or have been saved but the community doesn’t have any money to do anything with them or don’t know what to do with them.”
Something more long-lasting devoted to elevators may eventually become part of the gallery. Corea said funding is being sought for an exhibit in the heritage part of the building that would focus on grain and how elevators work.
The exhibit will be in town until Nov. 3.