Gallery 78 pays tribute to the art of ballet

If you pop in to Gallery 78 sometime before Nov. 27, you might end up leaving with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.

December is almost here which means the holiday season is just around the corner. And if you are already tired of seeing gaudy Christmas decorations in storefront windows, Gallery 78 in Fredericton has another option for getting in the spirit of the season.

The gallery’s A Nutcracker Celebration exhibit opened on Nov. 4. The collection features works inspired by The Nutcracker ballet from roughly 20 artists across Canada.

The exhibition was created to celebrate Dance Fredericton’s 10 year anniversary of performing The Nutcracker.

Germaine Pataki-Thériault has been the director of Gallery 78 for 12 years. Both of her daughters perform with Dance Fredericton, and also posed for some of paintings featured in the exhibit.

“We wanted to celebrate [Dance Fredericton’s] achievements so we asked some artists if they’d like to participate, and they really did,” she said.

Pataki-Thériault said representing dance and ballet with visual art seemed like a natural fit for the gallery, since it often incorporates other art mediums into the space, including concerts and poetry readings.

“We like to integrate the different aspects of art, whether it’s literary, performing or visual art,” Pataki-Thériault said.

The opening had the mood of a classy holiday soirée, complete with wine, cheese and of course Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” playing in the background. Art enthusiasts mingled with the artists, spreading the holiday cheer.

The pieces ranged from oil and acrylic paintings, drawings, jewellery, wooden and clay sculptures, and porcelain pottery.

Stephen May is one of the Fredericton artists participating in the exhibition. His works have been displayed at Gallery 78 for many years, and he said he is frequently asked to contribute to group shows and themed exhibits.

May said his artistic style tends to be inspired by French impressionist artists like Degas and Monet.

“It’s kind of fun to do a costume piece with the tulle and the colours and the non-sort of everyday clothes which tend to be these days kind of drab. It’s not like in the olden days where a painting of somebody in the fashion of that day and there’s sort of stuff to look at – painter’s problems,” he said.

This exhibit not only opens the door to the holiday season, but it celebrates the hard work, commitment and love of dancing of Dance Fredericton’s amateur performers.

The exhibit will be up until Nov. 27. Dance Fredericton will be giving their performance of The Nutcracker at The Playhouse the same weekend.

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