Celebrating aspiring artists in the community


Ruby Klippenstein, Kenora District Festival of the Arts

Ruby Klippenstein’s self protrait in the style of Vincent Van Gogh’s 1886 Self Portrait.

Lake of the Woods Arts Community (LOWAC) was pleased to be one of three sponsors for the Kenora District Festival of the Arts Emerging Artists Awards. Ruby Klippenstein, a grade 10 student from St. Thomas Aquinas (STA), took the $100 LOWAC prize for her painting in the style of the Vincent Van Gogh Self-Portrait (1889).

The Kenora District Festival of the Arts, held every spring, includes adjudicated performances and entries in the visual arts as well as music, poetry, drama, dance, public speaking and French verse.

Ruby’s painting was part of a project for her art class at St. Thomas Aquinas, which was to do a self-portrait mimicking an artist, but also to add some personal elements. She chose to replicate Van Gogh’s style, adding lyrics and sheet music from some of her favourite bands in the background. She says, “Music is a big part of who I am.”

Adjudicator saw promise in Ruby’s work.

Adjudicator Michael Boss indicated that he liked this “subtle inclusion”, writing, “It shifts the understanding of the image from a physical depiction to a philosophical statement. Terrific work!”

Klippenstein says painting herself in this way was challenging.  “I wasn’t happy with it at first, but after a while I liked it better.”

“When she was working on it, she wanted to improve the quality and that was her main goal”, says Ruby’s proud mom Melissa Jean, who is also a visual artist. “I was impressed she took a critical eye to it and knew what she needed to do; that she could capture the expression of Van Gogh at the time.”

Klippenstein chimes in, “I was also mimicking my frustration with the painting!”  She is grateful for all of the Emerging Artists Award sponsors, which in addition to LOWAC, included Inglenook Art Studio and Midnight Loon Glass. “It gives us an opportunity to improve and go further with our art.”  She plans to use the money to buy more art supplies.

Betty Wires, of Midnight Loon Glass, is the Visual Arts Coordinator for the Festival. She says the award, which goes to students in grades 7 to 12, is entirely the adjucator’s choice. “They’re seeing something that expresses that depth and that the student is on a path for art,” she says. She encourages people to go to the Discovery Centre to see the work that’s currently on display.

The annual spring event draws artists from outside of Kenora including Sioux Narrows, Nestor Falls, and Dryden.  Wires says, “It brings in a variety of different people who are practicing their art. It’s nice to see different groups and individuals who you may not see otherwise because they don’t live in Kenora.”

She adds putting it all together is a lot of work by a large number of volunteers.  “There’s not a lot of events like this in a community of this size.” More information about the festival is available at http://www.kdfa.ca.

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