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Special SCA juried exhibition on display at McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville

Firefighter from Richmond took first place in national competition
The cloakroom gallery at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville will show a digital exhibit of the Society of Canadian Artist’s Juried Exhibition and Competition until Oct. 24, 2021. On the right, first-place winner Michael Griffin’s ‘The Weight of the World’ is displayed on one of the six monitors. On the left, second-place winner Cher Pruys’ ‘The Artist.’ (Mandy Moraes photo)

As part of a province-wide celebration, the Society of Canadian Artists’ (SCA) Juried Exhibition and Competition can be viewed at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) in Parksville.

The digital exhibit, which was held as an event for BC Culture Days, is comprised of 36 works of art by the society’s artists, and will be shown in the cloakroom gallery at the MAC until Oct. 24, 2021. Pattiann Withapea, SCA member and exhibit organizer, said she was excited to hold an SCA exhibit on the west coast.

“One of the objectives was to involve more local artists, meaning just anyone from the western provinces. Because SCA tends to be very well patronized by the artists in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa.”

She said that although Ontario submitted the highest number of submissions, British Columbia ‘was right behind them.’

Withpea said she recused herself as a juror since she encouraged several Vancouver Island artists to submit their work and did not want to be perceived as an impartial juror.

The first place award went to Michael Griffin, an artist and firefighter from Richmond, for his piece titled The Weight of the World.

Withapea said Griffin was very excited to learn of his placing, having said that he had not submitted to a competition or exhibition before.

In total, he submitted three works for the SCA juried exhibit; Grandpa Dobri, an untitled portrait of a woman, and The Weight of the World.

Tim Wilkinson, the fire chief for Richmond Fire-Rescue, even penned a letter of congratulations to Griffin.

The letter read: “It is my great honour and privilege to congratulate firefighter Michael Griffin, on winning first place in the Society of Canadian Artists, national and BC Culture Days competition. Michael’s art piece titled Weight of the World is a stark reminder of just how dark and lonely recovery from PTSD can be. Thank you Michael!”

“Because he is retired military, and through firefighting, they experience a lot of heartbreak and see a lot of terrible things. And PTSD is really common with them,” said Withapea. “Michael’s peice shows how, as a brotherhood, they sometimes have to lift it off of somebody else’s shoulders, if they can.”

Both second and third place of the competition were awarded to Cher Pruys for her works called The Artist, winning second, and Perspective, winning third.

Joan Larson was awarded the ‘Vancouver Island Entry’ award for her Wild piece.

Artists Susanne Andrey, Michael Solovyev and Pruys each won an honourable mention award.

Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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