Alberta Arts Days

After a life spent first designing kitchens and later having a home-based business, Corinne Anderton decided to take a chance and try something new. She started studying fine arts at Red Deer College, painting, doing ceramics and making art journals.

Local artist Corinne Anderton works on a mixed media painting at the Alexander Way Arts Festival in Red Deer Saturday.

Local artist Corinne Anderton works on a mixed media painting at the Alexander Way Arts Festival in Red Deer Saturday.

After a life spent first designing kitchens and later having a home-based business, Corinne Anderton decided to take a chance and try something new.

She started studying fine arts at Red Deer College, painting, doing ceramics and making art journals.

“I think we’re all artists,” Anderton said. “I’ve been doing this for four years, before that I was just a frustrated artist because I wasn’t spending all my time creating. Now I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven.”

Anderton was one of the featured artists during the Alexander Way Arts Festival in Red Deer on Saturday.

It was one of the many events honouring Alberta Arts Days.

Anderton said the festival was fabulous. She painted brilliant shades of colour onto her canvas, as onlookers watched her progress.

“It feels to me like it comes straight from my soul. Everything else falls away,” she said. “It’s absolutely the thing I’ve craved for years. I didn’t realize how essential it was to do it.”

She said much of her work is nature oriented, with her taking inspiration for two of the paintings she was working on on Saturday from the falling leaves.

Kelly Richard, co-ordinator of the Alexander Way Arts Festival, said the festival went really well, with it drawing hundreds of people to see the 40 vendors. There were stilt walkers and facepainters and the Downtown Business Association put on its 25th anniversary barbecue.

“I think it’s important for all of Alberta to have a specific arts focused event. Everything else has a day or a weekend and all art — performing, visual, literary — should have a day, or group of days, so those artists can get together and share their audiences and their clients so that we can build on that, because that is what makes our communities is people who create and do,” Richard said.

Besides the Alexander Way Arts Festival in downtown Red Deer, events were taking place throughout the city as part of the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery’s Alberta Arts Days Chase, with people learning to dance at Chair Tease Dance Ltd. and working on a collaborative canvas at Gallery IS, along with other events.

At the Red Deer College, participants could try throwing a pot in the new ceramics studio in the college’s new visual art wing.

Trudy Golley, head of ceramics at RDC, said she thinks having an Alberta Arts Day is fantastic, although she would like to see a little more support from the government for the day.

“I think it’s a really good thing to have. People don’t realize how much culture is part of their everyday lives and sometimes we just need to point it out,” Golley said. sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com