Pembina Hills Arts Council celebrated 30 years of local art on October 20 with an 80s themed party at the gallery.
“It was 30 years ago that some local artists came together and started an art club,” board member Cathy Lone said. “Over the years that art club then rented a room at this building, and then it became the Art Council years later. It’s not 30 years of the Art Council, it’s 30 years of organized art club in Morden.”
Board chair Vicki Campbell-Dyck said 30 years is a great milestone to reach. “It’s just amazing what it’s turned into,” she said. “Looking back over the last 30 [years], it’s amazing what they have accomplished, hearing how they started as that small art club.”
At the celebration, long-time member Margie Hildebrand was presented with a lifetime membership. Hildebrand has been a member since 1991.
“There’s been lots of people that have helped along the way, but Margie is one person who has been here for many, many years,” Lone said. “She’s been a huge support as a volunteer, she was a staff member for a while, an instructor.”
Lone said a lot of the success of the gallery has come from the community. “It’s the art community, the people that are involved with running the program and the artists that actually have their art for sale here in the gift shop, but it’s also the community that continues to support when we have fundraising events, coffee houses, the classes that we run,” she said. “The community has continued to support us too, which is a huge thing.”
Lone added that the city has also supported the gallery.
Campbell-Dyck said right now PHAC is doing well. “It’s in a very good spot and it seems to be expanding,” she said. “We’re trying new things each year, the staff has brought different things for people to enjoy in the community. It’s been really neat to see the growth of the programming and free events that happen.”
Right now, Lone said one of the biggest priorities for the gallery is to keep finding fundraising ideas. “We’ve done art bars, that was really popular, starting maybe a year and a half ago,” she said. “We’re needing to look in a new direction because that’s kind of run its course.”
Campbell-Dyck said the gallery is considering running a coffee house once a month and some game nights. “We’re hoping to offer a few different liquor tastings, maybe a Christmas cocktail party,” she said. “We’ve done whiskey tasting and beer tasting, those are all fundraising.”
PHAC started offering free art talks over the summer, and the series has grown popular enough that the gallery is offering them every third Thursday of the month now. The next one on November 15 at 7:30 p.m. will discuss whether selfies are a form of art.
Lone said that there are still people who have lived in Morden over 30 years who haven’t come to check out the gallery. “People think you have to be an artist to come into the art gallery, which you do not,” she said. “I am not artist, I’m a community member and board member. If they could just come in and see the building and realize it’s a casual place and everybody is welcome.”