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The Federation is ready for you

The esteemed Federation of Canadian Artists has a new chapter in Edmonton - one that's been in the works for two years.


1st Place: Anne McCartney – Under the Kigelia Tree

2nd Place: Anita Skubleny – Quiet Reflection

3rd Place: Susan Abma – Trumpeters Tea

Honourable Mentions: Barbra Regamey McDonald – Menu Planning; Michelle A. Murray – Mmmm, Good Ice Cream; and Jennifer Annesley – Morning Light

The new Edmonton chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists is already a triumphant success even before its own inaugural show opens up digitally on Wednesday.

The local had 112 entries from its initial group of 51 artists. That’s practically a bumper crop for a first harvest.

“It’s amazing for a first-time chapter. In Arrowsmith, we had twice the members that we have here and the same amount of entries in the show. This is just an amazing entry for the first show,” explained Barbra McDonald, chapter president.

McDonald was living on Vancouver Island when she first heard of the national organization (founded by Group of Seven member Lawren Harris) when she attended an FCA show in Arrowsmith near Qualicum Beach and Parksville.

A graphic designer by trade, she had always loved painting as a passion. Finding the support and community for her fine art, on the other hand, was a real trial.

“I still had been painting and I was looking for an outlet for the painting and the drawing and came across a few organizations on the island, but none that really interested me that much. They were pretty much Sunday painting groups ... just people that just are doing it for fun – more crafty than serious professional painters.”

The FCA is a nearly 80-year-old Canada-wide organization dedicated to unifying “a nation of creatives,” according to its website at It presents a new exhibition every two weeks, each juried by a panel of leading artists for technical and artistic excellence.

The association is comprised of a few thousand members in 14 chapters across the country and their focus is its main gallery space on Granville Island in Vancouver. That’s where they host approximately 30 exhibits – both national and international – on an annual basis.

In order to get into one of those shows, you have to be juried in by your peers. Those are members that have worked hard and got their signature status.

After McDonald moved back to Edmonton, she looked for a local chapter but one did not exist. The process took two years and involved a contingent of other local artists getting juried in to prove the merits of their work and their skills.

It’s well worth the $50 annual membership fee, she says.

“There's some really good art organizations around and they all have their directives, but this one is probably the biggest thing. If you're a professional artist, if you're a serious artist, you're going to get a lot more exposure, you're going to get a lot more feedback because you have access to over 3,800 artists in Canada. You have the ability to compete with these artists,” she continued.

Not only that, the FCA hosts at least three international shows a year where other artists including non-members are invited to participate. They typically get up to 600 entries, a lot of them from overseas artists, and only accept perhaps five or six dozen artists into that show.

“The sense of accomplishment for an artist to get into a show like that ... there's just no better feeling,” she reveled. “It's just a real accomplishment to be able to do that. For a lot of artists, that's very important. They want to sell their work. They want to get better. They want to know other artists. They want to have that camaraderie. I think that this organization offers you all that whereas other organizations fall short.”

The FCA Edmonton show goes live on its gallery’s website at on Wednesday, Sept. 23. A list of the first, second and third place winners, along with three honourable mentions, accompanies this article.

For more information on the local group, people can visit

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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