Langley artist Brian Croft shares some memories of A&W Restaurants with a guest at the March West Fine Art Show. (Langley Advance Files)

Art show at rodeo raising money for children’s charities

Eighteen western Canadian artists join in this weekend’s Cloverdale festivities.

Art may not instinctively be what people go to the Cloverdale Rodeo to see.

But the West Fine Art Show (WFAS) has become a fixture at the annual rodeo and country fair over the past four years – and it will be back again this weekend.

Seven Langley artists will join another dozen painters from throughout the Lower Mainland, Nanaimo, Victoria, Penticton, and even as far away as Calgary to be part of this year’s Cloverdale Rodeo.

WFAS is once again being organized by Brian Croft – a Langley artist and retired airline pilot – who has pulled together a team of coveted western Canadian artists for the four-day display, running May 18 to 21.

In addition to Croft, other Langley visual artists include Joyce Trygg, Lalita Hamill, Drew Keilback, Patricia Falck, Catherine Traynor, and Ronald George Straight. And Langley guitarist John Gilliat will be performing throughout much of the show.

While the shows are fundamentally about exhibiting talented artists, these shows always have a charity component worked in to the fibre, Croft explained.

This year’s show at the rodeo is no exception.

There are now three West Fine Art Shows a year. The event, originally founded by the late Murray Phillips of Langley, incorporates a fall show to benefit Langley Hospice (that this year will be staged at the Glass House Estate Winery), the rodeo show which has its own charity component, and new this year Croft introduced a third annual show held in March that benefits the Langley School District Foundation.

From this weekend’s show, partial proceeds from art sales will be donated to the Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation and CHILD Foundation.

The latter is a cause close to the heart of WFAS founders, a tribute to the late Jeff Robinson.

CHILD Foundation is an organization founded by retired radio personality and art lover Red Robinson.

It funds research for children stricken with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and liver disorders, and was launched in honour of his son, Jeff.

Jeff was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 10, Croft explained.

“He was a great kid and grew into a fine young man who possessed a wonderful sense of optimism and a great sense of humour,” Croft added.

“Both of these qualities served as medicine each and every day of his life.”

Jeff did not recover from his 26th and final surgery. He died at the young age of 33.

“Jeff’s battle with Crohn’s disease was over, leaving us to remember his bravery and his smile,” said Croft, noting this show will once again be a tribute.

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Other artists participating included: Calgary’s Keith Andrews and Edward Anderson, Penticton’s Roger Arndt and Graham McKenzie, Victoria’s Natha Scott, Nanaimo’s Patricia Bank, Vancouver’s Bruce Muir, Coquitlam’s Ken Nash, Maple Ridge’s Neil Hamelin and Judy Vanderveen, and Cloverdale’s Anita Klein.

And a component of the show will also include the display of some emerging young artists. In this case, it will be the exhibit of work from students at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.

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