“Imagine Swift Current” takes people back in time

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Plenty of memories were rekindled on May 16 as the Swift Current Art Gallery celebrated their current exhibit with a coffee house tour.

“Imagine Swift Current,” which runs until the end of June, features works of art by local artists who explore and interpret the past, present and future of Swift Current. The exhibit is in honour of the city’s centennial year.

“When we’re all imagining Swift Current as our home or our history or our heritage, our community, our family, we all have these associations with the place,” Art Gallery of Swift Current Director and Curator Kim Houghtaling said. “Being able to have artists kind of put that into a visual experience for us is a real treat.”

The exhibit features works from 13 different artists. The collection includes some of the gallery’s own pieces, as well as works loaned from local collectors and pieces commissioned specifically for “Imagine Swift Current.”

Subjects range from beloved landmarks like the Blue Bridge, to paintings of long demolished landmarks, to some of Swift Current’s sadder moments, like a painting commemorating the Horse Plant.

“I just got thinking about Swift Current, and, honestly, as a kid, my favorite thing was after a long trip, popping over the horizon and seeing that view (of the city),” artist Nicole Rewerts said.

That memory helped her find the inspiration of her painting, which she created specifically for this show.

“Every kid is sick of being in the car, and is just so happy when the city pops up over the horizon,” she said with a chuckle. “It turned into looking back and remembering and of course you see everything as nostalgic and wonderful and warm.”

Fond memories played a role in most of the paintings, but so did a desire to protect and remember Swift Current’s history.

Local painter Jean Cyra had several of her works on display, most of which portrayed the various old advertisements still displayed on the older buildings downtown.

“There are probably people around who would just as soon paint over these old signs downtown,” she said. “But to me they add character to Swift Current that money can’t buy. They’re part of our town, our history.”

As part of the coffee house tour, Houghtaling gave some insight into why each piece was chosen, and invited several of the featured artists to give their thoughts on Swift Current, and their art.

Pieces included paintings, drawings and ceramic models of various Swift Current buildings. There was also a performance by Bears In Hazenmore, a local band.

All told, Houghtaling said he considers the exhibit to be a success.

“We were able to visit a show like this and reflect on our own experience through the artist, so we’re really appreciating the work that’s here,” he said. “It’s quite wonderful when artists start telling a story of place.”

Organizations: Art Gallery of Swift Current

Geographic location: Swift Current

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