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Paint the Barn Red project preserves history

Artists documents historic buildings in Mountain View County
paint the barn red
The Paint the Barn Red - An Artistic History of the Barns of Mountain View County book.

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The official launch of the Paint the Barn Red - An Artistic History of the Barns of Mountain View County book project was held on Nov. 20 by Zoom and live on Facebook, representing the culmination of months of work many artists, writers and other volunteers.

The project saw paintings made of 49 iconic barns in the county and involved 37 artists, some doing several paintings.

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

The vision of the project was to “artistically document rural culture through paintings and stories of barns in Mountain View County.”

The organizing subcommittee under Legacy Land Trust was made up of Gwen Day, Dee Poisson, Ruth Roedler, Kim Good and Lana Yakimchuk.

Roedler and Yakimchuk were the writers/editors for the project.

“They worked diligently to collect the stories for each of the barns, sometimes visiting in person, sometimes over the phone or by email,” said Day.

“They often received information from several generations or even different owners who enjoyed that barn as part of their lives. The stories are truly amazing.

“The committee focused on sharing the importance of the barns to these families and even more of illustrating the importance of rural life in Alberta.”

As well as sitting on the committee, Day and Poisson were also painters. 

Professional artist Susan Woolgar selected the project’s artists and, once completed, the paintings to be included in the book.

The paintings are printed in a nine-inch by 12-inch horizontal format along with the stories as told by the current and past owners and their families.

The book’s cover features the James Barn, built in 1910, and painted by Diane Anderson.

The barns involved were built between 1901 to 2017. The exact location of each of the barns was not published to protect the privacy of the owners.

Mountain View County loaned $10,000 and pre-purchased 100 books in support of the project.

One thousand books were published, with 460 sold or given away as of press time Monday.

Books are being donated to schools in the county, local libraries, museums, Legacy Land Trust, and one book each for participating artists and barn owners.

Plans to host an in-person book launch at the Heritage Barn were put on hold due to the pandemic. Organizers hope to have an in-person art show when things clear up.

“These amazing pieces of art do deserve a real showing to be fully appreciated,” she said.

See the Paint the Barn Red Facebook page or at paintthebarnred.ca for more information.



Dan Singleton

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