Engaging the services of out-of-town conservators is not unusual – art conservation is not a strip-mall service and, even in major cities, conservators are not a dime-a-dozen lot. When I moved to Vancouver Island in 2015, I hadn’t anticipated the strong draw my home province would continue to exert, or the flow of conservation projects that would bring me back for repeated visits to Alberta.
And speaking of strip malls, Edmonton, my home city, has a goodly number. All the more reason I was delighted while on a work visit to come across the fabulous 12th annual Masterpieces in Miniature Art Show, an exhibition of paintings no larger than 11” x 14”, at Picture This! framing & gallery in Sherwood Park (just east of Edmonton).
From the road, this could be like any another frame shop tucked away in a mall. Once inside, the business acumen of owners Carol and Rollie LaMarche is evident. Renowned artists throughout North America and beyond participate by invitation using a relatively democratic purchase process – by draw rather than the usual first-come first-serve. Ever cognizant of community, part of the proceeds are donated to the Art Therapy Program of Wellspring Edmonton, which operates out of a beautiful new building on the University of Alberta’s South Campus. This national non-profit network of centres offers support services to patients and families affected by cancer. Talk about pay it forward.
Small wonder that Picture This! was the 2016 winner of the Long Time Service and Legacy Award from the local chamber of commerce.