Local art now at the college

With summer now behind us, many people are wondering, “What can I do with my time?”
Along with many others, why not consider art classes at Confederation College here?
Since participating at the annual Chamber of Commerce trade show back in the spring, I realized just how much talent there is throughout the district. Not just how much talent, but the variety of talent.
You just have to walk down Scott Street in Fort Frances or attend any event in the district—from the Chamber’s trade show to the Emo Fair—to gain an appreciation for the vast talent of local artist.
So what can we do here at the college to promote this local art and to give others the opportunity to learn from these artists? Display their arts and crafts at our local campus here and then have the artists teach their art or craft!
This fall, the Rainy River District campus of Confederation College in Fort Frances is featuring two artists: Steve Latimer (wood carving) and Eric Keast (painting, drawing, and sculpting).
Latimer, who has been carving since 1996, prefers to carve with knives and gouges, though he has done some power carving. He has carved more than 700 pieces, ranging from Santas to songbirds and whimsical souses to animals.
One of his favourite items to carve is the human face.
Latimer’s carvings have been featured at the local Ducks Unlimited banquet, the Emo Fair, the Clover Valley Farmers’ Market, and many local arts, crafts, and hobby shows.
His training has been with world-class carver and author Rick Jensone of Crookston, Mn. He also has taken instruction at the University of Manitoba and the North Dakota State College of Science.
Latimer has been teaching for six years, and has taught private lessons, as well as group lessons, at the Whiskey Jack Carvers Club and the United Native Friendship Centre.
Keast, meanwhile, is a self-taught Anishnabeg artist exploring visual art through two-dimensional paint and drawing, and three-dimensional paper, wood, metal, and other materials.
Growing up in Red Lake, Ont., his first teacher and influence was the land, the boreal forest, the water, and the wildlife. “The art on my walls at home were Morrisseaus, Kakegamics, and Greenefeathers,” he noted.
The exploration of “traditional” prehistoric art forms and technologies began in high school, working with the provincial archaeological unit in Kenora in the 1980s.
Next, several years were spent in Minneapolis/St. Paul, which is where his serious pursuit of art blossomed and repeatedly was infused with experience and mentoring.
Keast learned photography through Joe AlIen (Lakota) and “The Circle” newspaper. He also learned wood carving with West Coast artist Ed Archie Noisecat (Salish), mould-building, and bronze-casting metal fabrication with Anurag Art Bronze Studio and Foundry in Marine-On-St. Croix, Mn.
Papier-mâché mask and sculpture was studied with The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, Bedlaam Theater, and the Two-Rivers Gallery environment.
Since returning to Northern Ontario, Keast has participated in some local gallery shows, created the online “Bingorage” presence, created a papier-mâché sculpture for the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, and Spirit Fire paintball and art park in Devlin,
He’s also worked on large canvases with the youth program of the United Native Friendship Centre.
Each artist’s work is featured at the local campus of Confederation College.
You can join these local artists and learn their craft by choosing one of the three exciting crafts, a combination of the three, or you can choose to take all three.
The choice is yours.
For more information, contact the college at 274-5395.

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