Pinawa Art 211 – Focus on Local Artists – Issue #26
Pinawa Art 211 organization began in late 1989 with artists from Pinawa and eastern Manitoba. Vivian Thomson, an art teacher from Whiteshell School District, was mentor and catalyst. She started giving classes for adults interested in developing their “inner artist.” From these classes came Pinawa Art 211 – a reference to both the town and the provincial highway.
Initially the group met in Pinawa Secondary School but moved to the closed W.B. Lewis School. They provided space to local artists, held meetings and mentored younger people. In October 1998, Art 211 shifted to Kelsey House (Wilderness Edge) and later to houses and then back to the high school.
Over the years, members have hosted art sessions and workshops. In 1990, they started exhibiting members’ work in art shows. To raise funds, they produced the ever-popular calendars, which highlighted members’ artwork.
In 1997, due to AECL restructuring, Art 211 became dormant. Remaining members continued meeting to develop skills and some joined Eastern Manitoba Artists’ Co-op.
In January of 2011, President Irene Friesen encouraged newcomers and former members to rebuild the organization. Although the initial focus was marketing, they became known for creative programming. Artists from surrounding communities joined and soon the group was 24 members strong.
The same year, Art 211 produced “Art in the Forest,” partnering with the Manitoba Forestry Association. They created “art about the forest in the forest” at Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre near Hadashville. These works remained on display for a full year in both Sandilands and Pinawa.
In August 2012, Irene Friesen and Arlene Bohn produced “Green Water Art Show” in Lac du Bonnet, partnering with Winnipeg River Arts Council and Fire & Water Music Festival. Fifteen Eastman artists sold art during the two-day sale.
In 2013, the organization renamed itself as a collective. Members exhibited work in Selkirk at Gwen Fox Gallery, in Winnipeg at Cre8ery Gallery and annually in Pinawa during birthday weekends.
To honour Pinawa’s 50th birthday, Art 211 hosted Eastman Judged Art Exhibition, adjudicated by professional artists, where Eastman artists displayed and sold work. Recently, they opened “The Gallery” in Lewis Business Centre. This initiative created Pinawa’s first gallery, now used for exhibitions and workshops.
During Pinawa 51st Birthday celebrations (July 18-19, 2014), in the Lewis Business Centre, EMAC and Art 211 will hold “Artisan Square,” co-hosted by The Gallery. Regional artists and artisans are invited to display and sell their work.