Winter Festival Poster Contest judges see it as a chance to mentor new talent

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Kimberly Roblin-McKay and Earl McKay were shown poster work at a Poster Colouring Activity event for the Prince Albert Winter Festival 2023 Winter Festival Contest on Saturday at the Gateway Mall.

The Prince Albert Winter Festival Poster Colouring Contest will have a set of artists as judges this year thanks to noted Prince Albert artist Earl McKay and his wife Kimberly Roblin-McKay.

Both artists were giving hints and tips at the Gateway Mall’s poster colouring activity Saturday afternoon. Kimberly said they’re eagerly awaiting their chance to judge the contest.

“We are looking forward to Winter Festival. It’s one of our first events we look forward to going to every year,” she said. “We are always in the Trade Show and we thought we would do this this year just so that we could get more involved with the young upcoming talent of Prince Albert and just see where it goes from there,” she said.

Kimberly and Earl first became involved with Gateway Mall art activities through the mall’s pop up art shows. They developed a good relationship with Marketing Co-ordinator Donna Hordyski, which led to them getting involved in other activities.

“We would come into the mall and we would display everything,” Kimberly said. “The last one that we were at was the urban ones that Donna put on. We started talking because the kid’s poster thing was coming up and it just out of the blue came up, why don’t we participate, come and help, be with the kids, and help with the judging of the contest because each of the kids is going to have a different category.”

This is not their first time judging or adjudicating art for children. They adjudicated pieces for Kindergarten to Grade 12 classes in Thompson, Man. Kimberly said they loved giving the kids feedback and helping them improve. Earl especially liked the mentor role.

“I am always looking for some talent to help, to mentor, to carry on,” he explained. “I mentored different groups of young people. I look for probably 13, 14-years-old students.

“I help them and take them to shows and show them the ropes and at the same time they make money for themselves. It would be the first time they ever made money for their artwork.”

Kimberly explained that Earl has talent and skills.

Helping at the activity on Saturday also helped Earl to find talent.

“The talent is always there, they all start off young, they all think ‘oh I can’t draw’ but is just a matter of just encouraging them not to give up, just keep going because with practice comes perfection,” Kimberly said.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Children took part in a Poster Colouring Activity event for the Prince Albert Winter Festival 2023 Winter Festival Contest on Saturday at the Gateway Mall.

With a poster contest she explained that the medium is blank.

“They definitely have got to open up their mind, their imagination and just put it down on paper and you see that vision and you just got to put it on paper,” Kimberly said.

Earl likes to mentor so he can work with the raw talent.

“You take the raw talent and you try to make it better,” Earl said.

He then said that one example was Kimberly herself who he also worked with.

“And now I do paintings in competition,” Kimberly said.

“Which she sells before I do,” Earl said laughing.

Kimberly said that the mentorship was helpful for artists of any knowledge level

“It’s cool, it’s really great to have somebody to show you not necessarily what you are doing wrong but how can you improve. Like what you are doing is cool but how about you try this technique or try a different brush, or try a different colour so just little things like that,”

According to organizers almost 40 people attended the event with over 100 posters handed out to people to take home.

The Poster Page can be found in the Thursday edition of the Daily Herald and the entry deadline is Jan. 25.