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Art in Public Places winner announced

The City of Fort Saskatchewan's Art in Public Places program announced their Artist of the Year on Tuesday evening.

The winner was Ojibwe artist Ellie LaGrandeur, owner of Dreamcatchers Gift and Art Gallery, for her piece “Highest Honour”. Her art was unveiled at the Dow Centennial Centre during the award ceremony.

Her piece features an Ojibwa Chief holding a sacred eagle feather, which is known as the highest honour in Ojibwa culture. The piece is on canvas and features real feathers which were placed on by over 700 people.

LaGrandeur said that the piece was originally made for Indigenous Day at Legacy Park back in 2022.

“We gave each child, teachers, and city staff the opportunity to add a feather as their own act of courage, and everybody loved it,” said LaGrandeurs daughter, Stacey Shearing.

After Indigenous Day, Lagrandeur kept the art piece at her gallery, where patrons were asked to add their own feathers.

“We've had people from Florida, California, Utah, east coast, west coast, and even as far as Scotland,” Lagrandeur said. “We've had families come in and take a portrait with it. Our oldest person to apply one was 94. She had arthritis in her hand, so I helped her with the glue.”

They even had an Indigenous elder offer their own personal feather to the piece. The feather has a strong blue color to it which contrasts the browns and whites of the others.

The City of Fort Saskatchewan has now purchased the painting and will be showing it on display in public places around the city.

LaGrandeur is also known for the “Every Child Matters” mural that was painted in front of Fort Saskatchewan City Hall last year.

Ellie LaGrandeur and Stacey Shearing.