Southwest Open shares talents of area artists in gallery setting

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The artwork of neighbours and friends is highlighted in the Southwest Open hosted at the West Wing Gallery over the summer months.

The decades long running showcase of local artists this year boasts selections from artists from Admiral, Cadillac, Chaplin, Herbert, Hodgeville, Kyle, Pambrun, Pennant, Prelate, Swift Current and Waldeck.

The Southwest Open is organized by Swift Current Public Arts Services and Swift Current Allied Arts Council. An opening reception was hosted on July 6, with many of the artists in attendance to share the motivation behind their submissions.

"I think it's been a really good opportunity for so many artists over the years," explained show curator Kim Houghtaling, Director and Curator Art Gallery of Swift Current.

The summer show is filled through an open submission process, with artists submitting works of their own choice.

"For many years it was considered a kind of contest. And it doesn't really work that way. When I'm a curator making an exhibition, I'm thinking about the composition of the show, what makes sense together, what gives it real strength, what are it's core pieces. Sometimes your work just doesn't work with other artists that are available, or doesn't make sense for what the program needs in a given year. So if you're not selected in a given year don't be discouraged. Come back and show again. And we'll be able to offer this program annually, especially since we have the West Wing Gallery," Houghtaling told the audience at Saturday's opening.

There are 28 artists works on display, representing a variety of approaches and diverse mediums. A number of the artists have previously been showcased, but some are enjoying their first opportunity to have works showcased.

"Also, as artists develop their practice and become more and more professional, or in the case of University students who are studying to be professional visual artists, once they've kind of reached that sort of professional level, then they become part of a Salon program that we have at the other Gallery for artists that are practicing professionally," Houghtaling explained.

"So it really is a kind of a professional development opportunity that leads to other opportunities in the future."

Organizers are expecting well over 1,000 visitors will experience the Southwest Open during the summer months, totals that are good numbers for a visual arts gallery.

"Because of the Doc's Town facility, and the kind of tourist visitors that come, a real variety of people will also get to enjoy this show."

The West Wing Gallery is located in the Airmen's Barracks, at Doc's Town in Kinetic Park. The Southwest Open is on display on Friday's, Saturday's and Sunday's until Sept. 2 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Organizations: West Wing Gallery, Swift Current Public Arts Services, Swift Current Allied Arts Council

Geographic location: Swift Current, Kinetic Park, West Wing Gallery

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