Splendid Sculptures in a Pretty Park in a Southern Manitoba Town

September 13, 2020
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Gallery in the Park in Altona, Manitoba, Canada
Gallery in the Park in Altona, Manitoba, Canada features art exhibits inside a heritage home and an impressive collection of sculptures in a beautifully landscaped park

In a small town in southern Manitoba a heritage home houses an art gallery in the centre of a park containing an impressive collection of sculptures. Gallery in the Park is located in Altona, a town of a little over 4,000 people (as of the 2011 Census). The town was founded in 1880 by Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites from the Russian Empire. It is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) south-west of Winnipeg.

A two-and-a-half story wood-frame heritage home now used as an art gallery at Gallery in the Park in Altona, Manitoba

The park surrounds a heritage home built in 1902 by Johann Schwartz. Johann Schwartz was an innovative, ambitious businessman who built grain elevators. Many years later the house served as a residence for Elim Bible School before it was purchased by the Schwartz Heritage Group who coordinated its first restoration and moved it to its current location. The house was subsequently used for exhibitions and art classes, and was run for several years as a Bed & Breakfast. The Town of Altona took responsibility for the house in 2004 and struggled to find a feasible and sustainable use for it.

In late 2005, Altona-based Friesens Corporation, a premier North American printer and Canada’s largest printer of hardcover books, approached the town with a vision for an art gallery and a sculpture garden. Gallery in the Park was the result of a public-private partnership.

A sculpture of a horse and another of a stylized metal shape in a park in Altona, Manitoba

Gallery rooms inside the heritage building exhibit works by local, national, and international artists. Outside, the park contains more than twenty sculptures. Below are photographs of some of them.

A sculpture in a park features two bear cubs on hind legs facing each other and almost hugging
“Bear Cubs” by Leo Mol
A bronze sculpture in a park features a little boy sitting and reading a book surrounded by playful animals - a goose in a bonnet, a squatting frog, a turtle in a bow tie, and more
“jack’s Story Time” by Gregory Johnson
A sculpture of a stylized seated female figure on the grounds of a park
“Brandi” by Curt Brill
A paving stone walkway in a park containing sculptures is bordered by a flower bed and water stream, and leads to a fountain
A walkway leads from the heritage building to a fountain at one end of the park
A circular fountain surrounded by a paving stone walkway with the walkway leading behind the fountain through a park to a heritage building
Looking from the fountain back toward the gallery building
A statue in a park features three men  close together, the arms and one leg of each outstretched
“Au But” by Alfred Boucher
A bronze sculpture of a person's legs pointed upwards and mounted on a cement block in a way that looks as if the upper part of the body had plunged into the block
“The Plunge” by Deb Zeller
A sculpture in a park features three guitar-like instruments (yellow, red, and blue)
“Heavy Metal” by Ken Loewen
Outdoor sculpture of a large stylized red ring
“Ring Piece” by Douglas Bentham
A sculpture in a park featuring a face with geometric facial features
“Points of View – Harmony” by Morley Myers
A sculpture in a park showing an Indigenous woman with flowing hair and dress holding a water jug
The plaque on this sculpture reads “Dedicated to the First Peoples of Turtle Island.” The name Turtle Island comes from First Nations. For some Indigenous peoples, it means North America; for others it refers to the whole world. The turtle is part of the creation story.
Bronze sculpture in a park showing a seated woman with a scarf on her head looking down at the young child she is holding
“Children” by James N. Muir. The plaque contains this Bible verse “As you have done for the least of these my ‘children’ you have done for me.”
A sculpture of several figures pulling at opposite ends of a rope in a tug-of-war
“Tug of War” by W. Stanley Proctor
A sculpture beside a gravel walkway in a park featuring three chubby women seated and huddled together talking
“the Gossips” by Rose Aimee Belanger
A bronze sculpture of a little boy in boots, a raincoat, and rain hat with one foot raised as if about to step in or over a puddle
“Puddle Jumper” by Susan Geisller. This sculpture makes me smile.
A sculpture of two deer (a buck and a doe) with a patio area containing a pergola, tables, and chair in the backgroun
“Buck and Doe” by Peter Sawatzky. In the background is a pergola area with tables and chairs that makes a pretty spot for a picnic.

The sculpture gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk from May to October. The indoor gallery is open Tuesdays through Sundays from June to October. Check the website for specific hours and details of the current exhibit. Entrance to the park and the gallery is free.

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Splendid Sculptures in a Pretty Park in Southern Manitoba: Gallery in the Park in Altona, Manitoba, Canada features art exhibits inside a heritage home and an impressive collection of sculptures in a beautifully landscaped park #Manitoba #art #sculpture #Canada #Altona
Splendid Sculptures in a Pretty Park in Southern Manitoba: Gallery in the Park in Altona, Manitoba, Canada features art exhibits inside a heritage home and an impressive collection of sculptures in a beautifully landscaped park #Manitoba #art #sculpture #Canada #Altona

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  • Reply
    Tag Along Deb
    September 14, 2020 at 9:19 am

    How fun! I didn’t know about this outdoor gallery. It’s been years since I visited Altona.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      September 18, 2020 at 10:38 am

      Deb, it’s an impressive gallery in a pretty space. I love discovering things like this in small towns.

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