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Innisfil artist gains popularity with Friday Harbour paintings

Innisfil artist Maria Kelebeev is selling her paintings of Innisfil in support of the Barrie tornado victims

Innisfil resident Maria Kelebeev has been making her mark in the community with her painted renditions of popular landmarks such as the Innisfil Beach Park and Friday Harbour Resort. 

Kelebeev was recently featured in local media after hosting a one-time art auction on Sunday where all proceeds were donated to the victims of the recent Barrie tornado disaster through Barrie Families Unite (BFU).

The auction was held in the parking lot of the Innisfil Community Church and featured a variety of personal paintings completed by Kelebeev with starting bids of $50 per piece.

Additional paintings were added to the fundraiser from her friend and local artist Jeanette Luchese from be contemporary gallery in Stroud, who also helped advertise and support and auction.

“She’s a pioneer in the field, so I was thrilled to have her by my side,” shares Kelebeev about Luchese.

Although Kelebeev only sold a few pieces during the auction, she was delighted to have the support of Innisfil councillor Kenneth Fowler who stopped by on Sunday to help set up and also purchase a painting of the iconic Innisfil Beach Park. Fowler also aided in securing the space for Kelebeev to host her art auction.

“These people, they don’t have to be doing this. Nobody is pushing them and yet, they are taking their own free time and personal resources to help me,” said Kelebeev about Fowler and Luchese. “They gave me all these connections through the (Innisfil) Library and how to get art into Friday Harbour.”

“I was standing in awe and gratitude, to have ‘big muscles’ on your side,” she adds.

Kelebeev says she is grateful for the support of the Town of Innisfil for aiding her in her artistic journey and plans to always have a fundraising or charitable component to her art exhibits moving forward.

“I want to build a practice where the giving is in every piece!” she says. “I have to do it because it gives me something back too. It’s much easier to raise money for someone else than yourself.”

All the remaining works can still be purchased at her storefront location shared with the ‘Spare Room’ gallery & art studio located at 12 Lakeshore Mews, and 100 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to BFU.

Kelebeev will be featuring a collection of paintings depicting scenes from Innisfil’s Friday Harbour at an open house located at 3657 Riva Avenue this Saturday from 2 – 4  p.m. in partnership with realtor Karin Rotem of RE/MAX Realty. 

“This very unique open house allows you to view the beautiful townhome for sale as well as the art creations done of the stunning Friday Harbour surrounding it,” she says. “(It) will be a pop-up art show, the first chance for everyone in the harbour to see my work!”

The Friday Harbour paintings are 36x24 in size and Kelebeev plans to donate a portion of the sales to another local charity.

“From when the lockdown started, I considered myself a professional artist,” she shares. “And now it’s a charitable medication and it has grown, so I’m going to embrace it and try to give back.”

Kelebeev shares her next goal is to get her Friday Harbour artwork on display at their new pavilion, and plans to connect with larger corporations who might be interested in sponsoring or purchasing her paintings.

“Through this journey, I’ve realized the gift I have – before, I didn’t give it much credit,” she adds.

To view Kelebeev’s artwork, visit her Instagram page: @hannatess_arthaus