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Island artwork chosen for national Art Bank collection

by Sue Gallant

Calendar, Two Generations, (mixed media on paper), by Brenda Whiteway of Charlottetown-recently purchased by the Canada Council Art Bank.

Two Island artists have recently had their work chosen from among more that 1,400 pieces submitted for consideration to purchase, to the Canada Council Art Bank. The two Island works were chosen along with eighty others created by Canadian artists from coast to coast. Cost to the Art Bank for the pieces selected for purchase, totalled $201,670.

Verna Banks of Alberton and Brenda Whiteway of Charlottetown are both excited to have had their work selected. "My first reaction was one of disbelief," said Banks. "I was really surprised," said Whiteway.

Victoria Henry is Director of the Canada Council for the Arts. "We were particularly pleased that we were able to purchase two works from PEI," she said, speaking from her Ottawa office. Henry said the Council looked forward to further applications to purchase from Island artists in coming years. She noted that Whiteway's image, entitled "Calendar, Two Generations" (mixed media on paper), was a lovely feminine, piece. Of Banks's work, entitled The Oysterman, (fabric applique), Henry said; "It's lovely to see fabric works coming into the collection, particularly this piece, because it's (the subject matter) specific to the Atlantic Provinces."

The Oysterman (fabric appliqué) by Verna Banks of Alberton, -recently purchased by the Canada Council Art Bank.

The Canada Council Art Bank is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary. The Art Bank supports the efforts of Canadian visual artists and provides public sector institutions with the opportunity to rent Canadian art for their public spaces and offices. The Art Bank collection currently includes some 18,000 artworks with 6,000 of those works rented to more than 200 government and corporate clients.

Works are selected for artistic excellence, significance to current art practice and suitability.

The Art Bank Acquisition Committee also considers regional representation and cultural diversity, paying particular attention to works by young, emerging artists. The Acquisition Committee previously called for submissions to purchase in 2001, but prior to 2001 there was a six year period when submissions were not requested.

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