Visually celebrating history

By Geoff Lee

August 2, 2017 2:13 PM

Pastor Ryan Sturge, from the Church of God in Paradise Valley, points to the progressive history of Barr Colonists depicted by this set of 20 plexiglas silhouettes that his late father Howard Sturge originally created for Grace United Church. The silhouettes were hung inside the Heritage Implements Building last week by volunteers from the Barr Colony Heritage Society. GEOFF LEE LSS PHOTO

It’s Barr Colony history of settlement in Lloydminster at a glance.
The Heritage Implements Building on the grounds of the Lloydminster Cultural & Science Centre (LCSC) has set up a set of black coloured plexiglas silhouettes, depicting a timeline of the colonists’ arrival and activities.
The 20 or so silhouettes were created by the late Howard Sturge for Grace United Church, that decided not to reinstall them when they renovated the building.
“The family has donated them to the museum so everyone can enjoy them,” said his son, Ryan Sturge, who recalled his dad cutting them from clear plexiglas with a jigsaw.
“He was a real talented fellow.”
Howard is remembered as a self-taught accomplished artist who was born March 28, 1927, in Lloydminster, Sask., and died on Jan. 1, 2006.
“The church asked him to do this,”  said Ryan, who is pastor at the Church of God in Paradise Valley.
Howard constructed the original set from tar paper to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Grace United Church women in 1984.
He was re-commissioned to create the silhouettes in plexiglas to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the church.
Dick Arie, president of the Barr Colony Heritage Society, is thrilled to have the silhouettes as part of the museum collection.
“I think on that cream coloured wall they look pretty awesome,” he said during a viewing for media on July 25.
“This was the only place we had to install them.
“We reinstalled them in a sequence that would sort of be a timeline for the settlement the Barr Colonists went through when they came.”
The cutouts show the colonists arriving in covered wagons then breaking up and farming the land and performing chores like milking a cow, chopping wood, and cooking on a wood stove.
The sequence eventually depicts a progression of early transportation from horse and buggy to automobiles and families going to church.
“Fantastic” was the word Ryan used to explain his reaction to seeing his dad’s work back in the public eye.
“Dad would be really pleased that other people would be enjoying watching and looking at them, and having them presented in the public,” he said.
“He would be just tickled about that.”
Howard said art was his dad’s life that included farming in the Lloydminster area in his early years, and owning a sign painting business.
For years he was employed as a graphic artist for CKSA Television. 
His artistic works in photography, gold leafing, etching, landscape, portrait and mural painting can be seen throughout the community to this day, in churches, businesses and private homes.
Arie said the best time for the public to view the silhouettes is on Aug. 7 during Heritage Day at LCSC from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“This building will be open and you can come and visit the whole grounds,” said Arie.

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