Sponsored by PWSS in partnership with Grasslands National Park and funded by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskCulture/Saskatchewan Lotteries.

July 28 to August 7, Project: Open Poetry
Events: Write-it-yourself Poetry Stations in and around Grasslands National Park; guided poetry hikes in the park; poetry flags appearing on the fence at the PWSS grounds; poetry/music open mic reading at Val Marie Hotel; public conversations about the project.

The open mic was a great success, very well attended, with enthusiastic participation by visitors and residents alike. The poetry banners that crown Rhonda’s residency are on display on the fence of the Little Brick School House. Great opening to Rhonda’s residency when every chair was filled at the Val Marie Hotel. Participants included long-time residents of Val Marie, brand new residents (welcome!), visitors, blow-ins: poets, singers, performance-artists all. Many magic moments. Rhonda facilitated a Val Marie evening to remember, sharing memorable moments in verse and music of her own. A big thanks to Aline and the Val Marie Hotel for hosting the event, to Grasslands National Park for partnering in the Arts in the Park Residency Program, and the hard work of PWSS chair, Laureen Marchand for all hard work in pulling this series, and event together.

DAVE CYCA, Swift Current, August 29 to September 12
Project: Open Song
Events: Concert with Dave’s band Creek City at Val Marie Hotel; campfire singalongs in Grasslands National Park; informal songwriting workshop in GNP; open mic at Val Marie Hotel; registered songwriting workshop (venue: Val Marie Seniors’ Centre); songwriting workshop at Val Marie School.

At the Creek City Concert, lyrical songwriting and masterful musicianship. At the Open Mic, capacity seating and always surprises. Both nights Dave hosted a great evening of music for all to share in. Both the band performance and the open mic were well attended and appreciated. More thanks to Aline of the Val Marie Hotel for hosting these musical nights! At the campfire singalongs, dozens of people right in tune and at the songwriting workshops so much talent.

GERRI ANN SIWEK, Regina, September 17 to 28
Project: OPEN ART
Events: Gerri was found everywhere in the community with her mixed-media collaborative art project on the rare greater short-horned lizard, including venues like the Trade Show during Val Marie 50th Annual Bob Larson Memorial Rodeo, a children’s activity venue in Val Marie Arena at Rodeo, the Val Marie School and the Val Marie Daycare. On Sept 27 she facilitated a sold-out art workshop called Mixed-Media Approach to Nature and where much activity and art were to be had.

JAMES R. PAGE, Val Marie, September 22 to October 2
Events: James gave his all to creative-horizons photography field trips lasting several days each with teens in Grasslands National Park, in cooperation with the Prairie Learning Centre, and with Val Marie School and Wymark School. So much talent in these young people!

TERRY JORDAN, Saskatoon, August 28 to September 24.
Events: Terry is working toward a sound-theatre project about the stories of Val Marie and the Grasslands. Throughout September he could be found in many venues talking to and recording the voices of residents of all ages and locations.


PWSS hosted three summer presentations.
July 1: Tara Mulhern Davidson works for the Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan (SK PCAP) which is a non-profit partnership of approximately 30 organizations including ranchers, scientists, environmental conservation groups, educators, academic institutions and government organizations. Her presentation by Tara Mulhern-Davidson was well attended, enlightening, and very entertaining. Thanks to Tara for taking the time to share this with us!

July 17: Nicholas Cairns has been living in Val Marie off and on since 2010, dividing his time between his academic work in Ontario and the allure of southwest Saskatchewan. His presentation on the fascinating and valuable amphibians and snakes of the Grasslands was lively, entertaining and informative. It was well attended and we’re lucky to have experts like these in our midst.

August 7: The third presentation was held at the Val Marie hotel and featured Cecile Blanke & Kathy Grant discussing Métis Culture & History from a personal perspective. The hotel was the perfect venue for this event and was filled to capacity.


Postcards to Buffalo Land: Scenic Salutations and Storms of Controversy, by Diana Chabros of Val Marie. This exhibition of oil paintings on paper focused on interludes of inclement weather, capturing the land in its current natural state. In the Museum Gallery, Marlena Wyman from Edmonton, Alberta showed Landing Hard: Honouring Prairie Women Settlers. Her limited edition beeswax transfer prints on paper offer a glimpse into the lives of early women settlers on the prairies, their loneliness and vulnerability, their toughness and resilience, their joys and sorrows.

Go to our GALLERY page for more information about the artists. There was a good turnout for this event and very good vibes. The artists were present and it was a great opportunity to speak with them about their work.

8 pm, Saturday, May 31, Val Marie Hotel
with AL “the Gentle Giant” Tinholt, on guitar
$15 at the door

“A big-league voice: strong, fresh and country-clear.” Great audience for this PWSS-sponsored event at the Val Marie Hotel. Val Marie’s own Joseph Naytowhow made a special appearance by after the Val Marie premiere of the movie he stars in, “Run, Broken Yet Brave” at the Palais Royale community hall. Beautiful songs and playing, great sound system, friendliness, and folks from Rhode Island, Montana, Poland, Mankota, Regina, and home  – a typical night in Val Marie!