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Assiniboia’s Shurniak Art Gallery excited for upcoming exhibits and activities this year

William (Bill) Shurniak founded the art gallery in 2005 and supported it financially until his death in 2020.
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Shurniak Art Gallery (file photo)

With pandemic measures all but lifted, the Shurniak Art Gallery in Assiniboia is preparing to host several exhibits and activities this year, some of which it couldn’t host during the past two years.

Staff are working to transform some of the galleries so the venue can host an exhibit from White Rock, British Columbia, featuring works from the collection of late founder William (Bill) Shurniak, explained public relations officer Gail Mergen. Shurniak had a home in White Rock, so these works are his final bequest to the gallery after he died in 2020. 

These 38 paintings will go on display by Tuesday, April 26. 

“It’s like an extension of some of Bill’s favourites … (with) beautiful large canvasses,” Mergen said. “Also, we have a donation by the artist Ross Penhall from Vancouver. He has donated a surprising painting in memory of Bill Shurniak. It’s called ‘Flyover’ and we’re including that in the White Rock collection.”

The painting is surprising because of how big it is and its subject matter, she added.   

From June 1 to 23, the gallery will feature works by Saskatchewan artists through a partnership with the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC), Mergent continued. The tour is called “The Flower may not look like the Roots” and focuses on the artists’ connection to their regional identity. 

Each artistic medium that the artists employ supplies helpful insights into how geography and sense of place figure into the personal landscapes of their minds.

Sponsored by the Shurniak Art Gallery, the Prince of Wales Centre in Assiniboia will host a four-day artists’ retreat from July 18 to 22. This is open to all artists and will be a non-instructed retreat, which means they can focus on — and produce — whatever they want during their time there.  

“I expect will have about 25 artists from around the province here — I hope. We haven’t had it for the last two years, but it is intended to be an annual event,” Mergen said. 

Around the same time, from June 25 to July 22, the art gallery will feature an exhibition of works including from some of those same artists participating in the retreat, she continued. 

Meanwhile, employees are preparing to host an inaugural fundraiser for the gallery on Saturday, July 2. This will feature a supper and evening street party. 

“The gallery has been funded by Bill Shurniak since its inception in 2005, and now that he’s passed on, we are in a position where we need to solicit support from the broad community,” said Mergen.  

Lastly, the art gallery plans to hold a large event from Sept. 15 to 18 that focuses on teas in different cultures and the ceremonies those cultures hold. Participants will have the opportunity to go into the nearby hills to collect materials for teas. 

This event is part of the venue’s efforts to promote reconciliation.

For more information about any of the events or exhibits, visit

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