Creston Museum, Creston BC  Creston Museum, Creston BC

Art/History

Historic Art from the Collections of the Creston Museum

Other People and Places

Art/History Exhibit at the Creston Museum, Creston BC
Ivan O'Neil
Ivan O'Neil (Margaret Moore) - Creston Museum, Creston BC

Artist: Margaret Moore

Date: 1958

In 1916, Ivan O'Neil competed in the Calgary Stampede.  He was the youngest competitor that year, being only 24 years old.  That early start with livestock would serve him well for the rest of his life.

O'Neil lived in the Creston Valley for thirty years, moving here in 1929 with his wife, Ruth State-Smith, whose parents were long-time residents.  Here, he was a livestock dealer and auctioneer. 

Apparently, he was a very good actioneer: in November 1943, as part of a war-time fundraiser, he auctioned off a pig for $6,200 worth of Victory Bonds.  He died in 1959.

The artist, Margaret Moore, moved to the Valley in 1959.  It was she who created the life-like faces on these mannequins, affectionately named "Granny" and "Panhandle Pete," which are still part of the displays at the Creston Museum.  Margaret died in January 2010.

Newspaper article, 1943, fundraising pig auctionOne of the mannequins at the Creston MuseumOne of the mannequins at the Creston Museum
First Nations Children

First Nations CHild 1 (Chris Herchmer) - Creston Museum, Creston BC

Artist: Chris Herchmer

Date: Mid-1960s

Chris Herchmer was a well-known Creston Valley artist.  Her career began in portraiture, and her first subjects were often local residents including former mayor and town booster Tak Toyota.

Working with her sister, Jeanette Ford, Chris created a series of portraits of First Nations children.  At the time, there was a market for this sort of portrait, especially in Alberta.  However, Chris did so many of these images that she eventually grew tired of them.

Chris then turned to her true passion in art: wildlife.

Chris' daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter are all artists, and all live in the Creston Valley.

First Nations Child 2 (Chris Herchmer) - Creston Museum, Creston BCFamily by Chris Herchmer, Creston BCCougar by Chris Herchmer

Ring-Necked Pheasants
Ring-Necked Pheasants (Phyllis Laage)

Artist: Phyllis Laage

Date: 2006

Ring-necked pheasants are not a native species: the first ones were brought into the Creston Valley as game birds in 1912 by Dr. Henderson and Guy Constable.  They were shipped in a wicker crate from a nursery in the Okanagan.

As the Creston Review announced in May 1913, when these first birds were released, they were protected until the poopulation grew large enough to support hunting.

Today, the distinctive ringing call of the ring-necked pheasants can be heard all over the Creston Valley.

This painting hangs in Erickson Golden Manor in Creston, BC.  It was loaned for this exhibit courtesy of the Creston Art Club.

Pheasants Crate, Creston Museum, Creston BCRing-Necked Pheasants Run Wild - Creston BC
Canyon Dam
Canyon Dam, Creston Museum, Creston BC

Artist: Marion Clayton

Date: Probably mid-1930s

Efforts to harness the hydroelectric potential of the Goat River began early in the Creston Valley's history.  The optimism of this newspaper article from 1909, though, was unfounded: more than two decades would pass before the power dam was built.

West Kootenay Power finally began building the dam on this section of the Goat River in 1932.  The sketch on the framed sign shows the dam as it looked when it went into operation in September 1933.

The sign itself hung on a house near the dam, occupied by Sid Parker.  Mr. Parker was the manager of the power plant, and probably made the sign.

1909 article announcing imminent construction of Goat River power damGoat River Canyon before 1933
The Art of Agriculture
Creston Valley Fruit Labels - Creston Museum, Creston BC

It might be found in beautiful, scenic views.  It might appear in perfectly-packed boxes of apples.  It might be represented by an impeccably-groomed animal.

Whatever shape it takes, agriculture is art.

It is not, however, art for art's sake alone; it is an economic necessity.

For example, unblemished fruit, carefully polished and packed in precise rows, does not just look good: the art of doing so is rewarded with higher prices at market.  This is why the awarding of Fall Fair trophies through the years has been based on the quality of presentation.

Colourful fruit labels are works of art in themselves. They alse served as a brand to market the community's fruit and to entice buyers.  And, by depicting all the best characteristics of the Creston Valley, the fruit labels promoted the community in a way few other products could.

Fruit Labels   1921 FairFruit Labels   flats
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