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Art gallery bringing Christmas to the country

Leighton Art Centre featuring more than 90 artists in crafters in annual Christmas show.
Marg Smith 0552
Okotoks artist Marg Smith will have about 20 pieces of art featured in the Leighton Art Centre's Christmas in the Country sale this weekend and next. (Brent Calver/Western Wheel)

A Millarville area gallery is embracing Christmas with the help of Alberta artists.

More than 2,500 pieces of unframed artwork and fine crafts created at the hands of about 90 artists will fill the Leighton Art Centre’s museum and galleries in its annual Christmas in the Country event Nov. 2-3 and 9-10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“This is one of our biggest events of the year,” said Leighton Art Centre executive director Stephanie Doll. “It’s a really good opportunity for members of the Leighton to display their artwork. It’s going to be a really nice festive occasion.”

Artists are invited to bring up to 20 pieces of unframed artwork to place in bins, similar to the Clothesline Art Festival the centre hosts in the summer.

“It’s all unframed artwork that can’t be over 25 inches so it’s fairly reasonably sized and priced,” Doll said. “We have everything from watercolours to acrylics – every type of subject matter you can imagine.”

Doll said the show is an opportunity to check out the work of well-established artists, as well as up-and-coming talent with 25 emerging artists featured this year.

In addition to the show’s featured artists, Doll said 30 crafters and other artists have work in the shop.

The art and crafts, along with free admission and complimentary drinks, draws hundreds of people to the historical house in preparation for Christmas, said Doll.

Okotoks artist Marg Smith has seen this first hand. She often volunteers to wrap art at the event. She’ll be volunteering this weekend on Nov. 1.

“It’s a great opportunity for both the artist and the art collectors because they have such a variety of art from the artists,” said Smith. “It’s a great opportunity for the artists because hundreds of people come out. There’s an opportunity for artists to have new collectors to start collecting their art.”

Smith has had her Foothills-inspired oil paintings in Christmas in the Country for seven years.

“I have some that I create specifically for this show and others that I have in my inventory that I think are suitable for Christmas in the Country,” she said. “I focus on things I think people would like to buy for Christmas gifts and things I know people have shown interest in before.”

Among her most popular items are chickadees, snowscapes and autumn scenes, often in smaller sizes to make the price reasonable for a Christmas gift, but the odd one in larger format for those looking to brighten their walls

“I usually sell a few pieces every year,” she said. “Hundreds of people come out looking for ideas and it’s a beautiful drive with beautiful scenery. They get some original art and they get a nice trip in the country.”


Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is a staff reporter at and the Western Wheel newspaper, focusing on Wheel's West, local arts and culture and entertainment. For story tips contact
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