Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Art with Heart creates a magical night to remember

“The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire
and before art is born,
the artist must be ready to be consumed
by the fire of his own creation.”
Auguste Rodin

Tracy Gardner had a spark of an idea. She would teach people how to paint beautiful paintings in the style of the Masters and then she would create a magical evening in which she, along with her students, shared their creations with other Calgarians. And thus, Art with Heart was born.

On October 25, Tracy and 31 artists from her Midlake Art Studio put on a display of 65 pieces of art that touched the hearts and minds of more than 200 people who gathered at the Safari Lodge at the Calgary Zoo to participate in her dream. Funds raised totaled over $23,000 but, even more than the monies raised, it was the incredible beauty of the art that inspired everyone who attended.

“It was breathtaking to walk in and suddenly see the art on display,” said Dermot Baldwin, Executive Director of the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre. “The colours, the tones, the visual impact was almost overwhelming. From the painting of a native woman sitting on a blanket to Tracy’s superb rendition of a mountain goat standing on a ridge, every painting brought its subject to life in living, vibrant colour. It was spectacular.”

Master of Ceremonies, Judy Gabriel of City TV, did a tremendous job of moving the evening along with grace and ease. The story of her own journey through homelessness as a child when her family fled the war in Ethiopia to eventually call Calgary home touched everyone’s heart.

Guest Auctioneer, Frank Hunt of Century Services, kept the live auction hopping by encouraging people to step forward and bid on the 3 oil paintings donated by Midlake Art Studio artists, Dale Bruce, Tracy Gardner, and Keith Hornby. As well, Frank kept participants in the bidding wars when paintings from Drop-In artists, Reg Knelson and Max Ciesielski, were on the block. When the blanket box created by the WoodWork Shop of the Drop-In came up, the bidding was fierce, but, along with the help of his two 'Vanna Girls', Liseanne McDonald and Megs Strachan, Frank handled it all with aplomb. Thank you Frank. You made a difference.

The evening celebrated musical and theatrical arts as well. Harpist Adrienne Schipperus soothed any ruffled spirits with the dulcet tones of her harp. Sitting amidst the beautiful paintings, Adrienne looked like a Masters portrait come to life. John Harris’ classical guitar sounds kept the crowd in the foyer entertained as they browsed through exciting non-art items up for silent auction.

The evening also included a performance of Chairs, a relevant and thought-provoking seven-minute play about homelessness, written by Alexis McDonald and performed by, Aaron Ranger, Stephanie Rubletz and Telly Hunt of By-Product Theatre.

Thank you to all these performers for contributing to a magical evening to remember.

Special thanks go to the artists who put enormous time, effort and love into each painting and who tirelessly assisted in setting-up the displays and dismantling the show when the night was over. Thank you:

Johanna Baarda
Peggy Bell
Judy Bunyan
Eileen Buzan
Maryjo Edmison
Angela Eyck
Bernie Fernando
Tracy Gardner
Heather Golden
Lynn Hardman
Keith Hornby
Carol Irving
Lynne Jones
Janice Kirkman
Bruce Koch
Janette Lennox
Rose Mellersh
Susan Miller
Anne Mulligan
Diane Niesz
Harvey Reimer
Mary Slimmon
Yvonne Smyth
Joan Sommerstad
Laurie Sommerville
Shelia Sterna
Gord Stuart
Ron Turnbull
Carol Turner
TR Turner
Loraine Ure
Max Ciesielski
Reg Knelson

Sincere appreciation to our generous sponsors who donated to the silent auction and made it such a huge success:

Anonymous Donors
Artists of Midlake Art Studio
Bonvida Wines
Dale Bruce
Cactus Art Supplies –
Cottonwood Golf & Country Club
Ted and Rilla Darragh
Tracy Gardner
Grower’s Direct, Riverbend
Calgary Hitmen
Keith Hornby
Kensington Wine Market
Midlake Art Studio
Oaktree Carpets
The Palette Coffee Shop
The Siding Café
StreetSide Development Corporation
The WoodWork Shop -- CDIRCS

A very special thank you to the Khanahoff Foundation. Their generous sponsorship ensures all proceeds from Art with Heart can be directed to and other programs and services that impact the lives of the clients at the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre.

It began with an idea and became an evening to celebrate amongst good friends, old and new, who shared a love of art, good food, and laughter. Consumed by her desire to make a difference, Tracy Gardner and the artists of Midlake Art Studio created a magical night that everyone who attended will always remember.

Thank you.

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