Winnipeggers support local artists in droves, despite cold weather

Shondell Babb, CONTRIBUTOR

Over 140 pieces applied for the gallery, but only 99 made it to the wall. THE PROJECTOR/ Shondell Babb

Showcasing various artwork since 2010, First Fridays in the Exchange District has become one of the best days of the month.

The first First Fridays of the New Year took place on Jan. 6. There were dozens of events happening throughout the Exchange District that included some new exhibits.

Jennifer LaBella was one of 40 First Fridays feature artists at the packed Cre8ery Gallery & Studio’s opening reception for the 99 Pieces of Art on the Wall exhibit and sale. LaBella saw the vase called, The Shield of Shaka Zulu, by C. Wawruck-Hemmett, and said the vase distinguished itself as something that should belong to her.

“I was admiring the vase. I’ve been to East Africa, in Kenya and Tanzania a number of times and so that piece really spoke to me,” said LaBella. “I like the motifs that she put on the vase: she put zebra print on it, which is a favourite animal of mine I saw in Africa.”

“This is the first 99 Pieces of Art on the Wall that has been juried, where three members are chosen as ‘anonymous jurors’ that select the best 99 pieces of art for the exhibition, out of the 140 pieces that applied to be part of the event,” said Jordan Miller, the executive director of Cre8ery Gallery & Studio.

Through the First Fridays exhibits, various artists get more public exposure by being featured in a permanent gallery like Gurevich Fine Art, or they can be part of an artist-run centre like aceartinc.

Sue Gordon is one of the co-founders of First Fridays who saw the shows on a trip to Kansas City and decided to bring the First Fridays concept to Winnipeg. There is a $50 membership fee to have your event included on the monthly brochure.

In February, First Fridays will host the Art Talk/Art Walk event at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café. Artist Derek Brueckner and curator Andrew Kear will discuss “Art and Tears,” a talk about emotional responses to artwork.