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‘Mermaid’ art show attracts regional attention

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Polished, painted and ready for her admirers, the Mermaid of Rainy Lake will be celebrating her 70th birthday Thursday with an art show created in her honour.

The “Mermaid Imagery” art show will open at the Fort Frances Museum this Thursday.

The show is being hosted by the “Rainy Lake Impressions” art group and will be on display until the end of August.

At the opening, which started at 7 p.m., the group will offer a brief explanation of the history of the mermaid and why they decided to start this show.

“I’ve only seen a couple but there was a great paper maché mermaid on a rock which is a wonderful piece of work,” explained Mark Kowalchuk who helped organize the event from the beginning.

“Someone also made a mermaid out of steel,” he added.

It has taken half a year to get the art show organized and encourage local artists to create their own interpretation of the mermaid.

“I think it raises the artistic profile of Rainy Lake,” Kowalchuk explained. “Traditionally, Rainy Lake has been a hunting and fishing destination, and we’d like to change that.”

Kowalchuk thinks the show will shed a new light on the lake.

“Visitors and locals can see the real beauty of the lake,” he enthused.

Already the art show has been listed in a number of publications in U.S. and Canada, and even a Winnipeg art magazine. Submissions for the show have also been sent from as far away as Kenora and Minneapolis.

Fort Frances Museum curator Pam Hawley said that a relative of the original sculpture has also expressed interest in the show and plans to try to attend the opening.

Hawley was herself swept up in the art show, endeavouring to create a mermaid sculpture ot of steel.

“The metal sculpture is really cool,” she admitted. “I’ve never done anything like that before. But it was a great opportunity to explore a different medium.”

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