Square Foot Exhibition kicked off, auction coming for small piece fundraiser

Small art pieces, big impact - that’s what the NorVA Centre says it has on display in its new Square Foot Exhibition.

The work may, most of the time, fit within the confines of a 12-inch-by-12-inch canvas, but the number of submissions - nearly 80 unique art pieces - forms a monolith inside the centre, mounted on the main wall inside the venue. Social distancing rules are in effect.

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Outside the gallery, NorVA plans to show off all the pieces online using its social media handles and website for people hoping to see the art, but not willing to risk congregating indoors during COVID-19.

Some of the pieces go beyond standard paint and canvas - sculptures have been included, as well as sketches, masks, even hand-knit dish towels.

NorVA volunteer Cindy McLean said artists may have gotten more adventurous and experimental during COVID-19.

“I think we’ve got a few different media that we haven’t really seen before, different ways of expression. I think, in times of COVID-19, artists have been extremely resilient. I think a lot of artists took advantage of that and used a lot of that quiet time for expression, sometimes different expressions we’re not used to seeing,” she said.

How this year’s auction will look is still mostly unknown. As in previous years, radio personality Raphael Saray will come in to serve as auctioneer - but this time, he’ll be doing it with a mostly empty room.

The auction is likely to be held online in an as-of-yet unknown form. A raffle at the site, featuring an original piece by Flin Flon painter Gerry Hamm, will include tickets sold online.

“We are offering something a little bit different. People can call the NorVA Centre during our hours and make a bid,” said McLean.

“Someone will go to the piece, see what the current price is, tell you and if you want to increase that bid, you can do that.”

The Square Foot Exhibition is the gallery’s biggest annual fundraiser. During COVID-19, McLean said the exhibition could be even more crucial for the centre than it has been in the past.

“This is an important fundraiser for us. We’ve had to cancel pretty much everything since March, most of our classes, which is a huge loss of revenue for us. We really need the support from the community this year, for the raffle and our auction, to pay the bills,” she said.

The exhibition will continue at the NorVA Centre until the auction Oct. 18.

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