180 Poplar Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R2L 2C3
(Revised October 2010) Download a full colour History document with some pictures here.
Our Club is in its twelfth year of successful activity. The years have gone quickly for those of the members who were there at its founding. Since then some members have drifted away, some have passed away. Many new members have joined. With the passage of time, the memory of early events, the activities of the Club and the people that have made them possible, is in danger of fading away.
Over the years, what started as a “good idea” became a successful reality that has given its members a sense of camaraderie, a place for their creative output, and an opportunity to learn and grow. With time, in addition to the growth in membership, there has been a definite growth in the maturity and quality of the creative output of the members, as members have gained in experience, learned from each other, and benefited from the many workshops sponsored by the Club.
The following, is an attempt to record something of the Club’s history, so as to give due recognition to those who helped organize the Club, and those whose dedication and effort have made it the success that it has become. This is also intended to chronicle in brief form the activities and events that have been part of the character of the organization.
At the time of writing, the Club is entering a period of revitalized energy and optimism. Recently there has been concern about the club’s future. The building, which is owned by the local School Division and leased by the City, has been in need of fundamental repairs. There were indications that the City was considering the closure of the current facilities, and relocation of existing programs to another. Recently, however, word has been received that the City is prepared to undertake the renovation of the building and that the work was to begin in the spring.
The Club was formally founded at a meeting held in Sept. 1998. At that time a provisional executive was elected consisting of the following:
President: Ray Kolomaya
Vice-President: Lynne Strome
Treasurer: Dianna Wieler
Secretary: Sandra McBain
Registrar: Suzanne Barrow
The first Annual General Meeting was held on April 12, 1999. At that time the first regular Board and Executive were elected.
The name, Local Colour, was suggested by Dianna Wieler, one of the organizers of the Club, a well-known Manitoba author, painter and miniaturist.
The Club logo, which very effectively represents the flair implied in the Club’s name, was created by Lynn Huzyk in 1998. Lynn works in the field of graphics, and has consistently demonstrated her expertise through the creation of numerous graphics used in the promotion of the Club’s art shows over the years.
Local Colour Art Group is an organization of artists dedicated to the creation of art, and its promotion in the community.
The Club strives to provide a forum for members in which to gather to paint and to share their interests, skills and experiences. It is dedicated to the development of its members through the provision of regular learning opportunities in the form of classes and discussion groups, and through the organization of regular art shows. Members are encouraged to work in a variety of styles and mediums, and while the primary focus is on the art of painting, individual artistic expression through work in photography, porcelain, wood and clay is also welcomed. The Club’s objectives include community outreach. This entails the promotion of art appreciation by way of periodic art shows, the extension of participation in instructional programs to non-members, and the facilitation of other initiatives that encourage members of the community to participate in art activity.
A major moving force behind the formation of the Club was Roy Fijal, a well-known local artist and art instructor. Roy’s background had been in commercial art and, prior to his retirement, he had worked in the advertising departments of Eaton’s and MTS. Roy had also instructed in art at Tech-Voc. Early in his career, he had a TV series on art, and after his retirement he taught art at the community level. His classes in watercolour and portraiture at the East End Cultural Centre, in East Kildonan, attracted numbers of students over the years, many of whom returned year after year to participate in his classes. Roy was not only an excellent instructor, but his love of art and teaching, together with his gentle, supportive and enthusiastic approach, created a friendly and inviting atmosphere in his classes. Beginners and more advanced students were inspired and reassured in their creative struggles, through his approach.
Roy had been a long-time member of the Winnipeg Sketch Club and often expressed regret over the fact that there had never been an art club in the East Kildonan / Elmwood / North Kildonan area. The event that prompted a number of Roy’s students to take on the organization of a local club was Roy’s announcement at one point, that he was considering dropping his classes. Roy had been suffering from ill health for a number of years, and on occasion found it difficult to carry on. His students felt that it would be a shame to lose the sense of camaraderie and creative expression that they had been enjoying in his classes.
Others that comprised the initial planning group included the East End Art Group, an independent group that had been meeting at the East End Cultural Centre, and another group that had been meeting with Roy at the Melrose Community Club.
Roy continued to be a moving spirit behind the organization and activities of the Club. After its formation, he gave presentations to members on a range of art techniques, and demonstrated his techniques in portraiture at the various art shows. He produced an instructional DVD on portrait sketching, part of the proceeds of which he dedicated to the Club. He was honoured with a lifetime membership at a dinner on May 17, 2000. Roy passed away on December 13, 2006.
In the early days of the formation of the Club, a number of individuals met at a local coffee shop to discuss ideas and organizational issues. These included Dianna Wieler, Amy Burr, Pam Dyer, Roy Fijal, Ray Kolomaya, Des Kurley, Andrew Zurawsky, Sandra McBain, Helen Lindgren, Wally Menzies, Lynne Strome, Viola Wade, Lynn Huzyk, Bob Brown, and possibly several others, whose names have unfortunately been lost to history. Several meetings were held leading up to the founding meeting and the formation of a provisional executive.
The formation of the new club was covered in the Dec. 9, 1998 edition of the Herald, together with the announcement of an open house and art show to be held on Dec.14 of that year.
Early on in its existence, the Club began to rent facilities at Good Neighbours Seniors Club, at 755 Henderson Highway. Members met on Monday and Tuesday evenings to paint. However, Executive meetings continued to be held in local restaurants. The Oct. 16, 1999 executive meeting, for example, was held at Perkins’ on Henderson. As noted, the first art exhibit took place on the Good Neighbours premises, and was a significant success. The person responsible for the organization of the first art show was Bob Boucher. Bob’s exceptional organizational skills were displayed not only in the success of the show, but in a manual that he put together, which served as a guide for the organization of future art shows. The Club’s first Annual General Meeting was held at Good Neighbours on Nov. 2, 1999. On Nov. 23, 1999 Roy Fijal presented his first of several presentations on art techniques, and the Club marked its first year of activity with a cake and coffee.
Discussions regarding the possibility of relocating the Club to a more suitable location began early on. Among other issues, the rent at Good Neighbours was found to be prohibitive. In the fall of 2000 the Club moved to the premises of the Elmwood / East Kildonan Senior Citizens’ Association. The decision was not without controversy. At the outset, some members were against the proposed move, arguing that the Good Neighbours location was a more desirable facility in terms of accommodation, and location. However, the majority favoured the relocation.
With this move Local Colour members also became members of the Retired Citizens’ Association. Local Colour held its first General Meeting in the new premises on Nov. 18 of that year. The decision had been facilitated through the efforts of Erl Braaten, who, in addition to his membership with Local Colour, was a member of the Seniors’ group. The move was seen as being of benefit to both groups: the Centre was looking to augment its membership, and the Club acquired good affordable premises for its activities. Erl played a significant role in the renovation of the facilities that were set aside for the Club, and subsequently served as president of Local Colour. The renovations were completed in 2001, and a Grand Reopening was held on October 20 and 21 of that year.
While Local Colour members had been members also of the umbrella seniors’ organization they initially tended to identify primarily with Local Colour as the focus of their interest. However, with time Local Colour developed a closer working relationship with the seniors’ organization as a whole, and a number of Local Colour members took on duties with its board of directors.
Ray Kolomaya 1999-2000
Tammy McNichol 2000-2001
Erl Braaten 2001-2002 2002-2003
Norma Balacko 2003-2004, 2004-2005
Ed Demkiw 2005-2006, 2006-2007
Norma Balacko 2007-2008
Elizabeth Delgatty 2008-2009, 2009-2010
Garth Palanuk 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013
Fred Perchaluk 2013-2014, 2014-2015
Growth in Membership
The Club enjoyed a healthy and active membership from the outset. In its first year of activity, the membership list contained 49 names. Membership has grown steadily, totalling 90 in 2010. This was no doubt in response to the sense of gratification that membership has provided. What began as a desire on the part of individuals to stay connected, and to share their common interest in painting, developed into a broader vision of what a club such as this could represent. From the outset, members met on Monday and Tuesday evenings for painting sessions. This was an opportunity to get together, paint, gain inspiration from each other’s work, and to share information and ideas on club activities. Along the way, additional times were added.
Social gatherings have been a feature of the club’s activities from the beginning, starting with early planning sessions over coffee and donuts, the celebration of the first year of the Club’s existence, then organizing events such as annual Christmas get-togethers and end-of-season banquets. Additionally, the Club gradually developed a series of activities aimed at the developmental needs of its members. From its initiation, the Club arranged classes and speakers, and began to engage the community through the organization of public art shows.
The Club’s first art show was a one-day event held as part of the Club's open house held on December 14, 1998 in the Good Neighbours facility. The organizing group was led by Bob Boucher and the show was a significant success. The first official show and sale was held on May 8, 1999. Bob Boucher was in charge of the shows held in 1999 and 2000. In subsequent years, show organizers included Norma Balacko, Aron Loewen, Bob Brown, Andy Zurawsky, Elizabeth Delgatty, Suzanne Brown, Erl Braaten and Fred Perchaluk.
With the passage of time, public attendance at shows steadily increased, due in significant measure to favourable word-of-mouth publicity. May became the regular time for annual shows. There was some early experimentation with a second annual show (Oct. 2002 is an example) but these became a regular event in Nov. 2006, at the suggestion of the then show organizer, Elizabeth Delgatty. Since then, there have been regular Novembers shows in addition to the May events. What began as a one-day event, changed to a two-day, Saturday and Sunday event. Subsequently, a formal wine-and-cheese opening was added on Friday evenings.
These shows have enjoyed enthusiastic participation on the part of members, in terms of the volume and quality of the art submitted, as well as in organizational work.
The earliest extant record relates to the May 4, 2002 art show, and indicates that 13 members sold their artwork, totalling $1,334.20. Since then, sales of formal art have been regular, though relatively modest. The sale of smaller items such as cards, prints and unframed works, has been brisk. Draws of donated items have been a feature of the shows, and have been a modest but steady source of revenue used for Club expenditures such as library and equipment acquisitions. The Club has also made a practice of conducting a draw for artwork donated by members, with proceeds going to charities such as the Cancer Society and the Humane Society. An attractive feature of Club shows has been the hospitality room where visitors could enjoy sweets and refreshments. More recently, the Friday night hospitality events have featured live music.
The shows have consistently drawn positive responses from the attending public. As a matter of fact, the shows have begun to develop a loyal following, with individuals making annual attendance a practice.
From the beginning of its activity, the Club explored various venues for the display of its members’ artwork. In addition to the “in-house shows”, the Club has held regular exhibits at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory (beginning in the early years) and more recently, at the Millennium Library and Great West Life. At one point, the Club had a display at Concordia Hospital. For a number of years now, the Club currently has had a standing display at the Henderson Public Library.
Classes and Workshops
One of the indicators of a steady growth in the creative skill and sophistication of the Club’s membership has been participation in art courses. The Club began to invite guest speakers from the beginning of its existence. Roy Fijal was the first of these, presenting on “perspective”. Joan Duma has been responsible for a number of years for the organization of in-house art workshops and classes. Her responsibilities have entailed researching available instructors and presenters, the development of a calendar of events, the booking of participants, and the facilitation of specific events. Under Joan’s watch, the Club’s calendar has been filled with varied and interesting presentations of a high calibre. The result of these events has been a flowering of new ideas, approaches, and use of media on the part of the members, sometimes dramatically evidenced in the new artwork displayed at the next art show.
Art Talks Discussion Groups
Chu Pei pioneered the idea of periodic discussion groups on topics pertaining to the creative process and on related issues of interest to those who produce art. Club members have been meeting on a monthly basis. Garth Palanuk became involved early on in assisting with the scheduling of dates and presenters. Members have participated in making presentations on various topics, and the sessions have been well attended.
The Sketch Club was organized in late 2009 as an outgrowth of the Art Talks groups. The idea was first promoted by Carleigh Duncan-Doyle, Thora Barnett and Judy Sutton and rapidly developed an enthusiastic following. The group has been meeting on a monthly basis to sketch from live models, usually volunteers. At times professional nude models have been employed.
Ruth Kamenev has served as Club librarian for a number of years, having taken on the responsibility for the organization and management of the Club library and the purchase of new books and magazines. Under Ruth’s leadership, and with the support of other members, the library has grown into an impressive resource centre. Ruth has also been involved in organizing and monitoring a permanent display of members’ art at the Henderson Public Library.
Early on in its existence, the Club began publishing a newsletter, which was put together by Deanne Miller and Lynn Huzyk. The first newsletter announced, among other things, the Annual General Meeting scheduled for April 12, 1999, and the first “regular” Art Show and Sale set for May 8. The newsletter eventually evolved into a Club website, created and managed by Deanne. In addition to information about the Club, the website has contained photos of artwork by various members. It is an ongoing project, with Deanne revising it to make it a more effective tool for publicizing our members’ creative output. Our website is under the name, “http://www.localcolourart.ca”. At time of publication of LCAG History the newsletter has been revived by Linda McCallum.
The origin of the Club’s Constitution is a bit unclear, but it seems that an early version was adopted in the first year of the Club’s existence. It was subsequently revised under the guidance of Ed Demkiw, a retired lawyer, on Sept. 30, 2003, and amended under the presidency of Elizabeth Delgatty on May 26, 2008.
The Club was incorporated on Nov. 10, 2000, under the presidency of Tammy McNichol. The Club’s Manitoba Incorporation Number is 4294816. The Officers listed in the Articles of Incorporation are: Tammy McNichol (president), Roy Fijal, Irene Gauvin, Erl Braaten and Aggie Fast. Incorporation has allowed the Club to transact financial arrangements, including charging membership fees, the maintenance of a bank account, and the sale of art at shows. An audit committee, drawn from the membership and headed over the years by Carrie Stefanik has been conducting annual audits of the Club’s financial affairs.
Sadly, over the years the Club has lost a number of members, through death. Each of them had contributed to the Club in a unique way, and each left a memory behind:
The Club’s ongoing business is conducted by its Board at monthly meetings. In keeping with the provisions of the Club’s Constitution, the Board is elected by the general membership at Annual General Meetings. The Executive is elected by the general membership from the elected Board members. Two other general membership meetings are held in the course of the year in order to involve the membership in discussion and decision-making.
The enthusiasm and dedication of the club’s members have been reflected over the years in the composition of the Board of Directors, and their executives. Creative and energetic individuals have come forward to provide organization and leadership, and each successive Board contributed to the growth and development of the Club with new ideas and initiatives. The following is a list of the Boards of Directors over the years.
President: Ed Demkiw
President: Erl Braaten
Vice President: Norma Balacko
Treasurer: Ruth Kamenev
Secretary: Ed Demkiw
Directors: Tammy McNichol
Roy Fijal, Honorary life member
Penny Morka, Registrar
President: Norma Balacko
1st. Vice President: Joan Duma
2nd. Vice President: Suzanne Barrow
Treasurer: Darlene Funk
Secretary: Ed Demkiw
Directors: Erl Braaten
Roy Fijal, Honorary life member
Carol Harrison, Registrar
Date of Publication: October, 2010
The beginning of the year 2010 has been characterized by a general feeling of optimism on the part of the members of the umbrella Seniors organization as well as of Local Colour, with the prospects for future collaborative effort, and the anticipated renovation of the facility by the City. Several Local Colour members joined the Board of the Seniors organization, with Con Gislason stepping into the role of President.
At the time of writing, the Club is entering a period of new energy. In the recent past, there has been growing concern about the future of the entire facility. The building, which is owned by the local School Division and leased by the City, has been in need of fundamental repairs. There were indications that the City was considering the closure of the current facility, and relocation of existing programs to another. The proposed alternate facility would not have met the needs of either the Seniors program or that of Local Colour. Subsequently, however, word was received that the City was prepared to undertake the renovation of the building and that the work was to begin in the spring.
This “new beginning” is largely the result of the initiative and effort on the part of the several individuals who have joined the Board of the umbrella Senior’s organization, and have created a Building Committee under the capable and energetic leadership of Con Gislason. This team, whose members are Garth Palanuk, Suzanne Brown and Joan Duma, has displayed a creative approach to the issue of the future of the facility, and considerable skill in negotiations with City authorities, which promises to be a “work in progress”.
In preparing this material, the Committee made every effort to gather all relevant information and ensure its accuracy. We regret any errors or omissions, particularly as they may relate to individuals who have played a role in the creation and running of the Club.