Morning Star Staff
“When we came in on the opening night and saw our work on display with all the other art, it was just amazing. It was the first time either of us had ever entered our work in a show,” said Vernon artist Shelley Larkin.
Cathy Shultz was equally moved at seeing her work in her first show at the Ribbon Show at the Armstrong Spallumcheen Museum & Art Gallery.
“The quality of the work was so good that I was shocked that I got a ribbon in my first show,” she said of her first place in the mixed-media category.
She and Larkin, who have been friends for years, are both new to art. Shultz started taking lessons only last fall after retiring from a career as a nurse and nursing instructor and Larkin is a retired cartographer, who started drawing maps in pen and ink and then moved on to computers but is new to other forms of art. She was awarded a third-place ribbon in the portrait category.
The open show features 80 pieces by more than 40 new and experienced artists. All the pieces entered are on display, with the awards decided by a jury of three well-known artists who volunteered their time and expertise, including a talk for the artists. Jury members were Ev McDougall, Tracey Kitschier and Graham Flatt.
“When Cathy asked me if I wanted to enter something in the Ribbon Show, I didn’t feel I was ready. I didn’t know what to expect but they were very welcoming and encouraging and made the entry process easy,” said Larkin.
“It was a great opportunity to meet other people who are doing the same thing as we are and not all are new, some were very experienced. It was a chance we would not get otherwise.”
Shultz said she is grateful for all the time and work that was put in to make the show happen.
“As an artist it’s an affirmation of your efforts to be able to display your work. You work in solitude and wonder how you are doing and a show like this lets you have professional evaluation and be able to share your work. It is such a good learning opportunity,” she said.
Both artists are already thinking about entries for next year’s Ribbon Show.
“It gave us a focus and a foundation and knowledge about what goes into showing work,” said Larkin.
“I would say to any artist who is thinking about showing work that this is a great place to start. Go for it. Even if you feel unsure, put something in.”
She encourages artists to learn about the categories and criteria and start planning.
“Being in the show gives you confidence that you can allow other people to look at your work,” said Shultz. “I’m inspired and excited to do more work and will look at other ways to show now. I hope more people will know the Ribbon Show is there and will enter next year.”
It was the first Ribbon Show for gallery administrator Lark Lindholm, who is new to the job.
“People who have been involved with the show for many years tell me that this is an exceptional show, that the quality of the work is remarkable. We are lucky to have so many wonderful volunteers in so many capacities,” she said.
“And we have so many artists who participate to make this a great show. I feel like I’m in a very special place with all this awesome art around me. The show is a good opportunity for artists who may not have enough work for a solo show to get started and learn about the process. All the comments have been positive, from visitors from around the province and some from Europe.”
The Ribbon Show is on at the Armstrong Spallumcheen Museum & Art Gallery seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the last day Aug. 5. A number of pieces are for sale and have already sold.