Growing Awareness at the Winter Festival of the Arts

The Art Gallery of Algoma’s First Annual “Winter Festival of the Arts” certainly showed off the abundance of talent cultivated by our often snow-covered, cold landscapes. Visual artists who practiced any and every medium were invited to submit their art, and the awe-aspiring pieces at the exhibition emphasize just how much creativity resides here.

This year’s theme of “Growth” was interpreted in a variety of ways in an array of artworks including paintings, photographs, sketches, and sculptures. Many artists were clearly inspired by the landscape and the animals and plants thriving within it.

Rowan Gordon "Memories of a Tree"

Rowan Gordon “Memories of a Tree”

The youngest participant in the show, nine year old Rowan Gordon, submitted a painting which she named “Memories of a Tree,” an acrylic painting of a tree with curling branches and wispy roots surrounded by animals and birds. The judges obviously appreciated her entry as well, as she received an honourable mention for her submission.

The third place winner of the show also focussed on the growth of roots, trunks, and branches. The vividness of Taimi Poldmaa’s three paintings “Old Growth,” epitomize the grace and drudgery of the Northern landscape through close up branches weighted down by bright, white snow.

Taimi Poldmaa’s three paintings “Old Growth,”

Taimi Poldmaa’s three paintings “Old Growth,”

The first place winner, like many others in the show, demonstrated Aboriginal influence within our culture and how it has contributed to the growth of our nation.  My appreciation of grew with every angle I admired it from.

Phil Jones’ soap stone sculpture “Warriors of the Wind”

Phil Jones’ soap stone sculpture “Warriors of the Wind”

There were so many stunning pieces that made me contemplate the complexities of our region and the meanings of the theme of “Growth,” I certainly could not have chosen favourites; but my mother and 13- year-old brother had fun walking around after our first long look at all the pieces picking out works that they liked best.

While my year as an intern at the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie & District in 2012-2013 allowed me to see just how many artists are in our locale, this show certainly made me and my family even more intrigued by the stunning art produced in our region, which I assume it did for many others who also enjoyed the exhibit.

Inviting local artists to display their work in the Art Gallery of Algoma and the public to revel in the talent around us is not just a great opportunity for artists to demonstrate what they do so amazingly, but for the community to get a better understanding of the importance of art in our culture and city.

While the exhibition illustrated many meanings of “Growth” in Northern Ontario, what I hope the show does for many years to come is continue to allow growth in awareness of the arts and realization of the importance of purchasing local art to continue nurturing this talent.

1554495_10100559407405775_1754090195_nChristine Campana is a Northern Ontario culture enthusiast and freelance writer. She enjoys writing about the Algoma District, especially the arts, cultural activities, and great events offered in our area. After finishing her MA in English Literature, Christine completed a year internship at the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie & District, during which she learned more about arts and culture available in Sault Ste. Marie. For more information, Christine can be contacted at



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