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Paint the Barn Red project promoting history, art, rural culture and tourism

MVT paint barn red project
Artist Pam Montgomery, left, holding one of her barn paintings, stands with artist Dee Poisson, artist Gwen Day, and committee member and writer Lana Yakimchuk following a presentation to county council on Feb. 26. Noel West/MVP Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – Mountain View County council has been given an update on the Paint the Barn Red project, which is seeing local artists and writers document barns in the county.

The goal of the project is to publish a hard cover coffee table-style book with 120 full-colour pages in the fall of 2020, organizing committee member and artist Gwen Day told council on Feb. 26.

The project will promote history, art, rural culture and tourism, she said.

“Our vision is to artistically document rural culture through paintings and stories of barns in Mountain View County,” said Day.

“And our mission is to preserve imagery and stories of barns in the county, preserve history, educate about Alberta rural life, and engage artists and barn owners.”

Fifty-three barns, some dating back to the early 1900s and some more modern, have been selected for the project.

Forty-one artists are involved, with some artists painting two barns each.

In the book the paintings will be accompanied by write-ups about each barn, including interviews with the barns’ owners.

The project is being overseen by a committee of artists, farmers, writers, historical society members, and a Legacy Land Trust Society member.

“It’s been quite a journey and we are learning a lot as we go,” she said. “We are losing some of our barns and this is a great way to preserve them.”

Total cost of the project is estimated to be $31,693, including $21,313 printing costs, while the total revenue from the project is estimated to be $58,850.

Once all costs are recovered, the books remaining would be given to local museums and heritage conservation projects in the county for sale, she said.

The paintings themselves will be the property of the respective artists, she said

By March 8 the artists will submit their works for the final jurying process by professional artists from outside the region.

There are plans to attend local fairs, trade shows and community events to start to gather pre-sales and find sponsorships, she said.

A gala art show and book launch is proposed for Nov. 20 at the county office’s main hall.

During the presentation to council last week, artist Pam Montgomery said, “Heritage and history are very important to me. We are very appreciative of Gwen and the team for putting this together. We are very passionate about this project.”

Many new friendships have been formed between artists and barn owners as a result of the project, she said.

The project has a Facebook page at Paint the Barn Red in MVC.

"If they would like to give a supporting donation that will include a mention in the book, and receive a tax receipt, visit the Legacy Land Trust website," said Day.