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Renowned sculptor to attend Art Round the Pond

The great Pablo Picasso mused, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Yes, the rat race of life that sees most of us on the daily 9-5 grind can put a damper on our creative spirit.

Ruth Abernathy stands beside her sculpture of Arnold Palmer. [Submitted]
Ruth Abernathy stands beside her sculpture of Arnold Palmer. [Submitted]
On June 20, Art Round the Pond returns to Wellesley Village, giving patrons a chance to check out the wares and talents of local artists.

Set to feature some 30 painters, sculptors, artisans and crafters, the 10th running of the annual event is sure to wash “away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” as the famous French cubist painter said, of the transformative ability of art.

Many familiar vendors will be back this time around, organizers say, but one new artist of note, will be the world-renowned sculptor, and longtime Wellesley Township resident, Ruth Abernathy.

She will be showing the piece “Ladies-Size 8,” which are five-foot long stainless steel high heel shoes, each shaped to represent a women’s body.

“It is a set of three stainless steel shoes that were first created (in 1999) as an actual size 8 shoe, but they are ladies,” Abernathy explained over the telephone from her Carmel Koch Road home. “Then in 2004 I did them as a Canadian contribution to Sydney, Australia, and we actually made them large, so instead of a shoe size that were ladies they were ladies that were shoes sun bathing on the beach. And so I did a Canadian version of them a few years later for a Gallery in Picton, but the steel ones have been in Stratford and they’re going to come for the Art Round the Pond.”

An actress with the Manitoba Theatre Company and the Stratford Festival in her youth, Abernathy moved to Wellesley in the early 1990s where she honed her sculpting technique of mapping and carving figures.

By 1996, she had received her first commission for a bronze statue. In the years since, she has created numerous, high-profile public portraits including the Mackenzie King monument at the Kitchener Collegiate Institute, a life size statue of Al Waxman in Toronto’s Kensington Market, Alex Mustakas on stilts in front of the St. Jacobs Playhouse Theatre, and more recently, the memorial to Jeffrey Baldwin wearing a superman costume in Toronto’s Greenwood Park, in honour of the five-year-old boy who was starved to death by his grandparents in 2007, along with many others.

A big supporter of local arts, Abernathy has been interested in taking part in Art Round the Pond for years. The size of her pieces, and the fact that so many of them are commissioned for public spaces, has made it difficult. But she is excited to be on board this year.

“It’s great,” she said. “Because much of my work is so large and in public spaces, my studio output is a trickle. But luckily this year, I have something that could be shared, because otherwise it’s not always easy to show what it is that I do.”

She added, “It’s a great event. It all starts at the grassroots level; that’s how communities move themselves forward.”

Art Round the Pond takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 20. More information about the event can be found at http://artroundthepond.ca.

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