Artists offer hope

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, November 10, 2022

While visiting a most rewarding art show last Friday, that famous line from Dostoevsky kept going through my mind: “The world will be saved by beauty.” Yes, in today’s troubled world so desperately in need of healing, artists have a special role as servants of beauty. Let me share with you briefly my encounters with five artists at the show who certainly comforted my soul with their interpretations of our Foothills surroundings.

My wife and I attended the Alberta Escape Artists Fall Show at the Uplands Recreation Centre in northwest Calgary. The local artists were on site to give us personal glimpses into their artistry.

Their canvases ranged from stirring cloud formations by Karen Pedersen, to floral fields and paths by Anne McGilvary, an autumn view up the Kananaskis River valley by Barb Scott, forested lakesides by Janet Armstrong, and equine portraits by Sandy Rogers (see accompanying photos.)

When I mentioned Dostoevsky’s words about beauty to Janet Armstrong, she replied: “Art touches most of us in some way… in this crazy world.” Then she quoted the legendary educational philosopher Maxine Greene: “The arts, it has been said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings who might change the world.”

As we approach Remembrance Day, it’s good to see artists on the front lines of combating evil by reminding all of us of the power of beauty for our wellbeing.

By the way, sometimes that beauty comes with a touch of humour. Sandy Rogers titled her painting I’ve featured, “Lip Service,” to draw attention to the plants between her subject’s lips.

No sooner had we returned home after the show, than Mary Anna received a phone call letting her know she’d won the door prize of a set of five of Sandy’s equine portrait cards.

And that was more than lip service! Thank you, members of the Alberta Escape Artists, for doing your part to offer hope for our broken world.


© 2022 Warren Harbeck

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