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Erin McCoy’s art was inspired by her father’s love and encouragement. Now she hopes Oil on Hands – a painting that will hang on the walls of Inn from the Cold – will support many others in need of a comforting hand.
“My dad is my number one supporter,” says McCoy, a first-year student at Alberta College of Art and Design. McCoy presented her painting on Monday to the Inn following a special online auction that also helped raise $13,500 for the Calgary emergency shelter. “He does whatever he can to give me a wonderful life. It means so much to me that this painting will be seen by, and hopefully inspire, people at Inn from the Cold.”
The oil painting of her father’s outstretched hands was a submission to The BOW: Emerging Artist Project, a project created by ACAD and Encana Corporation. Earlier this year, ACAD issued a call for submissions to students for original artwork to complement Encana’s permanent collection that will hang in its new corporate headquarters in The BOW. More than 130 emerging artists participated, with 13 winning works selected by a panel of judges. Each student received a small grant from Encana to purchase art supplies and the winners received an additional $2,000 for their artwork.
But the project didn’t end there. Encana and ACAD took the opportunity to further strengthen the project’s commitment to the Calgary community by making the remaining artwork available to the public through an online auction in early May. Half of the art sale proceeds benefited the exhibiting artists and the other half went to Inn from the Cold, an agency dedicated to helping disadvantaged families by providing emergency shelter, support and programs. The auction raised more than $27,000 through the sale of 61 pieces. To commemorate their unique partnership, Encana asked the Inn from the Cold to choose one of the paintings from the auction.
“We’re a shelter that over the past year and a half has been asking the community to step in and do what it can, no matter how big or small, to help us end homelessness in Calgary,” says Yvette Rasmussen, Executive Director at Inn from the Cold, who personally chose McCoy’s piece from the selected works. “The outstretched hands in this painting speak to a message of caring - that we all have something to give.”
By sheer coincidence, artist McCoy’s father Brian McCoy turned out to be an Encana employee. “Oil on Hands represents my dad’s passion for what he does, and beyond that, his love for his family,” she says. “If it weren’t for my dad, I would not be where I am today.”
The painting will hang in the Inn from the Cold’s program room, which last year alone served 3,000 children and 2,000 adults, a perfect spot for the work of an aspiring artist and an inspirational message.
“We have a longstanding relationship with Inn from the Cold and support the work the agency does in a number of ways. The BOW: Emerging Artist Project was a unique collaboration that we are all very proud of. It brought together members of the art community, the creativity of these very talented students, an exciting new Calgary landmark building – The BOW, and provided support for our community,” says Patricia Etris, Encana’s Team Lead for Community Involvement.