The Portage Ukrainian Nursery School has children's art on display at Prairie Fusion Arts and Entertainment. They've been doing this for twelve years now. One patron brought in her grandson and notes she recalls when they were first in the basement of the Trinity United Church and art was spread across a table. COVID came along and caused them to relocate.

Manager of Gallery operations Lee Beaton says they were approached by the nursery school for the possibility of using the space, and the rest is history. 

Day Care Director Lori Carpenter says it's associated with an auction that's held each year.

"The gallery is open to people who want to see the art that the children have made. It's open Monday to Wednesday from 10-3 p.m. and Thursday from 10-7 p.m. We would love people to go and check it out. There are several components to it. We do some things every year. There's a watercolour and self-portrait project that the children do. It's really fun to see the difference between the two-year-olds paint the drawings and the four and five-year-olds' drawings. There's also a parent project component where the parents, when they come to do their helper days at the nursery school, sit with their children at the big easel and paint a picture together. They talk about the colours and the ideas that they're doing."

Carpenter says a highlight of this year was the crayon project. She explains children enjoy snapping crayons and peeling the paper off. 

"So, we made that into a group art activity for auction. Those pieces are up and people can bid on them if they'd like. Then we've got the cloth project. The kids painted on big swaths of sheer cloth with liquid watercolour paints and Sharpie markers. They used their hands, eye droppers, brushes, and just had a great time painting a huge surface. It was really different for them rather than on a canvas or a piece of paper." 

She says you can purchase them by putting your bid in little paint cans in front of the pieces in the main gallery They also displayed a photo of the specific piece of art on the can. 

"At the end of the art show on the 27th of June, we'll be collecting all of those and contacting the people who have made a bid. If it's the highest bid there, they'll get a phone call. If they still want the painting, they can purchase it for that." 

You can enjoy a tour with one of the women who work at Prairie Fusion.

"I really hope that people will look closely at the artwork, as well. The stories that go along with them are really interesting. There's also a board of photographs that the children have taken. We give the children digital cameras and they take pictures of what's important to them in the playroom. There are lots of goals with that. We want them to be able to use digital technology in a way that's positive and in a way that's interactive with the other children, because they take pictures of each other. They take pictures of the things that they've built at nursery school. They take pictures of the parent helpers and the therapists that might be in their room. They take pictures of whoever comes in the door."

Carpenter explains the funds raised go to support their art program, noting they use authentic art materials. 

She adds one highlight of the crayon project include the use of hair dryers to melt them onto canvas. Carpenter says it's something the kids will remember their entire lives. 

Beaton says their art is quite a bright and joyful, colourful exhibition. 

"It's so much fun when the artists come with their families because they come in and we always greet them, 'Is this one of the artists?' Or we ask our visitors, 'Are you coming because you know one of the artists?' It's just to watch the children and their smiles as they light up when they start showing and sharing their artwork with their families. There are some of the pieces that have little black dots on them so that people who are interested in them can know that they are for sale, as well."

She adds a description with some of the artwork shows what the kids wanted to draw and the reasons, as well as descriptions of what can be seen.

"Make sure you sign the guest book every time you come in," adds Beaton.