Healing Halls Art Program

The Northern Lights Regional Health Centre is a little brighter this morning after yesterday's unveiling of the Healing Halls Art Program.  Engaging local artists to show and sell their work, the rotating exhibit is located in the corridor that runs parallel to the main lobby.  All of a sudden, patients and staff will have beautiful creations to look at by artists like Margie Cunningham, Alan Reeve, Hélène Giguère, Terese Diprose, Amy Keller-Rempp and others.

According to Susanne Chaffey from the Northern Lights Health Foundation, the idea came from local artist Margie Cunningham at the 2013 Convergence YMM Conference.  Just over a year later, and the idea has turned into reality, with artists being able to exhibit and sell their work with 30 percent of the proceeds going to the Health Foundation as a donation.

"It's fantastic when an idea like that takes root and grows," said Dan Fouts, Chair of the Northern Lights Health Foundation Board.

He was like a proud Papa standing in the hallway, watching guests admire the work and talk to the artists.

I was particularly pleased to meet Terese Diprose, a long-time continuing education instructor at Keyano College, and an accomplished drawer.  Interestingly, she primarily uses crayons, mixing various colours on the paper to achieve the shades she is looking for.  She proudly shared with me a collection of drawings that were truly remarkable.

"How long have you been doing this?" I asked.

"Since I was about four," she said.

A linguist and a former language instructor - she is retired now - Terese is currently learning Norwegian and Icelandic.

It was nice to see Hélène Giguère at the event.  She will be featured in an upcoming YMMArts column in the Fort McMurray Today as she is in the final stages of releasing a book of images from north east Alberta.  Her photograph of Christina Lake in the Healing Halls exhibit is absolutely stunning.

She was joined by Alan Reeve, a fellow photographer, who will be joining her and Katinka Kleppe at the Spring Trade Show coming up April 25 - 27 at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre.  Alan, a retired policeman from Ontario, published a book of photographs a couple of years ago called A Different Look.

One the pieces featured in the Healing Hall is by an artist that I had never met until yesterday.  Amy Keller-Rempp has been in Fort McMurray since 2009 and is keeping incredibly busy with her airbrush creations.  You can see a great selection of her paintings on her Facebook page located here.

I shouldn't be surprised when I run into new artists and performers in Fort McMurray, but I always have this reaction of "Why haven't I met you before?"  It reminds me that we are no longer a small town, or even a small city.  We have a lot of people who have come here from places around the world who bring with them a broad set of skills and talents.  I'm grateful to the Northern Lights Health Foundation for creating the Healing Halls Art Program and giving me an opportunity to meet a few more of them.

To get the Healing Halls art exhibit, go to the left of the elevators, until you run into the hallway that runs parallel to the main entrance.  Enjoy what you find.  For more information on the Healing Halls Art Program contact the Northern Lights Health Foundation.  Their website is located at www.nlhf.ca.


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