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Sharing the Joys of Artistic Expression:
Artribute Art School

Balancing her tremendous work as an artist with serving the community as an art teacher and being a mom to two youngsters certainly keeps Red Deer’s Erin Boake on her toes. But this gifted woman simply wouldn’t have it any other way.

Boake, who was born and raised in Red Deer, has long been showcasing her mesmerizing skills as a painter, and these days, she’s also sharing with others the wonders of creativity via her Artribute Art School – based in the Old Courthouse in downtown Red Deer.

She purchased the school last year and has been loving the opportunities to guide others along their own artistic journeys. “It’s kind of an ongoing art school for kids, so we have the chance to work on art projects over long periods of time,” she explained. Ages run the gamut from six through to 18. And these days, Boake has 40 students attending Artribute.

She’s hoping for even more. Boake said that essentially, the goal is to provide more artistic ventures for the younger set. “With this there is that sense of continuity, and we can focus on lots of different things.”

The studio space is perfect – bright, cheery, airy and extremely inviting. There is an immediate sense of feeling ‘at home’ the minute one walks through the door. “It’s the best job in the world,” she said with a smile. “To come and make some art with kids – it’s the best thing! They also all want to be here – they are ‘artsy’ and super-engaged,” she added. “It’s really fun – I just love it.”

Although Boake – who was also nominated for a Woman of Excellence Award earlier this year – wasn’t quite sure of the venture at first. “When it first came up I though, I don’t know – I have two little kids of my own! So I wasn’t sure – can I do both? But I’m really happy I decided to. It’s wonderful. The kids are really inspiring. And it’s more than creating paintings – it’s also all about creative thinking and decision-making. There is so much more to it than creating a nice piece of art.”

Watching the students grow in confidence as they explore their own abilities is also a delight. “It’s nice to see them blossom. It’s also exciting to see them get excited about it.” Of course, Boake is no stranger to teaching art, having done so for more than 17 years including a stint in Iqaluit, Nunavut, where she taught drawing and design at Nunavut Arctic College.

And speaking of motherhood, Boake is thrilled about her latest exhibit at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery called Hot Mess: A Residency in Motherhood. It runs through to Sept. 29th. Through the compelling and imaginative collection of works, Boake explores the ‘chaotic, cluttered and cyclical nature of motherhood’.

“It’s about my experiences of being a mom, which is pretty new to me still as my oldest is four and my youngest is almost two,” she explained. “One of my pieces is a ‘to-do’ list, and it’s 98 feet long,” added with a laugh. “There is a lot to think about all of the time! It’s really a personal exhibit, for sure,” she said. “This isn’t so much about the ‘pretty’ things as it is about the ‘busy’ things.”

Ultimately, for Boake, it’s been an amazing journey as she’s fearlessly honed her own skills over the years. And even with her outstanding and numerous accomplishments, she’s as friendly, warm and accessible as ever.

She’s also never been wary about delving deep and offering works that are always strikingly unique. “It’s my passion. It’s what I love to do,” she explained. “I’ve also always liked the idea of creating things that no one else has ever done, and having a unique voice.” by Mark Weber

Artist Erin Boake, owner of Artribute Art School

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