The Community Hall in Kenton hosted a great crowd of art enthusiasts at this past weekend's Westman Juried Art Show!

The Sunday event brought artists together with their families and followers, plus the two jurors who participated in this year's show.

Brandon area Ben Davis and returning adjudicator, Leona Herzog, had plenty of beautiful works of art to choose from for the naming of the Best of Show in the adult and youth categories, as well as the theme category, 'Chasing Light.'

This was the first time Davis participated in the judging at this year's exhibition.

 "It's really life affirming, because coming to Kenton, a beautiful hamlet like this, and walking into a hall filled with such rich and well-crafted work is amazing," shares Davis. "I think over the last 3 years, the uptake in the entries into the competition has gradually crept up from the 70's to the 90's and now this year just over 100.  It's fantastic, it really is!"

This was the 45th year of showcasing local talent from youth, budding artists and those who have been creating art for years.  Each of the participants are home grown talent. None are professional artists; they simply enjoy the process of making art - and in many different genres!  From oil painting to acrylic painting to fibre art to ink art, the variety and skill of work was truly amazing again at this year's show!

Davis says it was difficult to narrow the 103 pieces down to just 20 for the Travelling Art Gallery that will visit close to 20 communities over the next 12 months across the entire Westman Region.

"One of the things I love the most, is not to necessarily be writing the feedback," explains Davis, "but it's the conversations that you have afterwards.  And it can be incredibly challenging and somewhat overwhelming. Like on Friday night when we arrived and saw all of this work and began writing comments, you don't know the artists, you don't know their full intention, so you do your best and identify strengths and make suggestions."  

"But because we all have our own perspectives, one of the responsibilities of the artist is to pick and choose from what we provide, what actually matters to them if it's useful," he adds. "So, providing constructive feedback is always wonderful and for me, the best way to do that is in forming conversations with the artist."

Davis encourages more artists to join in on the Westman Juried Art Show, and other art exhibitions that are open to them, even if they're nervous about the feedback from the public or the jurors.

"I always get anxious about putting work forward, putting it out into the public gaze, even showing it to friends when I've just finished it," adds Davis. "But know that you're amongst a community of other people in the same boat who are incredibly supportive. And the purpose of adjudication isn't to make people feel bad about their work or even say that it's good or bad.  It's actually meant to support them as artists in their development."

"So, it's wonderful to see your work in the company of so many other pieces, and it really helps to develop you as an artist, but also builds your self-confidence."

For more information on the Travelling Gallery, including the itinerary for 2024-2025 visit the Arts West Council website HERE!

Ten pieces from this past weekend Westman Juried Art Show were also selected to participate in the Rural and Northern Art Show to take place in September.

(Photos include Best of Show acrylic painting titled, 'Mid-Country Mule' by Glenda Cairns Poirier from Sinclair, MB.  Also, Ben Davis and Best of Show in the Theme category Joel Desjardins from Napinka share a conversation on Joel's painting, 'On a Bike Ride'.)