By Jessica McKague
If you attended Fall on the Farm at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), you likely saw our new art installation bursting with colour in the Hallway Gallery. Celebrating Culture in our Community is a group show of four artists, Kim Gwozdz, Helen Banman, Melanie Penner, and Don Hoeppner, chosen by the Steinbach Arts Council (SAC) for their significant contributions to our arts community.
Don Hoeppner is a long–time local business owner. In retirement Don turned to the arts, exploring watercolour painting depicting serene moments in nature.
Melanie Penner began painting in the 1970s. Her passion is for painting the natural world such as landscapes in acrylic and multimedia, applying layers of fresh, bright colours. She has been instrumental to the arts programs and fundraising events at SAC. For the past 17 years, she has served on the Southeast Visual Arts Committee and the Gala Committee, was the initiator of the Buy or Lease Art program, and has led watercolour classes for children and adults.
Helen Banman has been a contributing member to SAC for the past ten years. In that time she has volunteered on the Southeast Visual Arts Committee and the Exhibit Committee, has showcased her artwork in a solo exhibit at the Steinbach Arts Council Hall Gallery, and has participated in the Southeast Open Judge, placing in the watercolour category.
For the past 15 years Kim Gwozdz has dedicated her time to SAC as a member of the Southeast Visual Arts Committee, the Southeast Artist Group, as well as the Eastern Manitoba Art Collective. She has taught beginner and intermediate acrylic painting classes for the past 10 years. Her work is represented not only in the SAC Buy or Lease Art program, but also with Wayne Arthur Gallery in Winnipeg.
Each artist has several of their finest works on display from the luminous watercolours of Don Hoeppner to the golden multimedia of Melanie Penner. And if you can’t seem to drink your fill from just one visit, you can always take one home! All four artists are part of the Steinbach Arts Council Buy or Lease program, an opportunity for businesses and homes to choose from a wide selection of art works for rent or purchase. You may have noticed a few works around town in such locations as Avenue Hair and Skin, The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce, Chicken Chef, Days Inn, enVision Community Living, Golden West Radio, G&E Homes, Harvest Insurance, Royal Bank of Canada, Steinbach Chiropractic Clinic, Steinbach City Hall, Steinbach Credit Union, Steinbach Family Medical, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
This exhibit rounds out MHV’s annual themed exhibits of Celebrate with Us. MHV at 50, on display in the Auditorium, documents the history of the museum from its founders and builders to school programs and the story of our windmill. In the Gerhard Ens gallery, A Growing Community Collection showcases the most extraordinary artifacts donated to the museum. And now, on display through to January, this art exhibit will celebrate the 35th anniversary of another community-driven institution – the Steinbach Arts Council, and acknowledge the talented artists who contribute to our arts community
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About the Author
Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.