Community support was strong over the weekend when southwest residents attended a public event at the Art Gallery of Swift Current's West Wing Gallery.

Swift Current born artist and soon-to-be certified art therapist, Jade Wolfe, showcased her capstone project to graduate with the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute, her Where the Heart Is exhibition.

The series of vivid, colourful portrayals of the southwest Sask. environment also tell a story of personal healing and growth through grief.

"It's about reciprocity," she said. "When I'm doing art therapy work, when I take something, I have to give back. This is my way of giving back to the grasslands for being so, giving to me when I needed them. And this is my way of honoring how beautiful they are and how important they are to us, but also using art to express that."

Where the Heart Is stands as more than just an art exhibition; it's a testament to the transformative power of creativity and the healing potential of the natural world, while also inspiring conversation about the vital yet endangered native grasslands. Each vibrant piece in Wolfe's collection showcases the beauty of southwest landscapes and wildlife, inviting viewers to reflect on the ecosystem's importance.

She explores themes of finding solace amidst loss and upheaval, and a reminder of preserving natural heritage and fostering a deeper connection with the environment.

The capstone project isn't confined to the walls of a gallery; Wolfe will include a written piece to accompany the series of acrylics.

Two individuals who have watched her progress over the years, were in attendance on Saturday afternoon to see how the reception went and reflect on the finished work. Laura Andrew, capstone advisor and Martine Bedard, second capstone reader beamed with pride and awe at the site of their student's accomplishment. 

"I've seen some snapshots of her paintings, but to see all of those pieces completed and hanging so beautifully and professionally, it's just a massive milestone for her in terms of completing her requirements to graduate from the Art Therapy Institute," said Andrew. "Her style, with the contrast and the juxtaposition of the background and the foreground, and her line work and the vibrancy of color ... they're very powerful, very evocative pieces."

The event itself was a success, with community members turning out in droves to show their support from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., engaging in meaningful conversations about art, therapy, and the environment.

Aura Lee Macpherson, along with other members of the Public Pastures Private Interest (PPPI) organization, travelled hours to attend the one-day show and was blown away by the impact of Wolfe's talent and skill.

"What really was exciting for me was, often we think of Saskatchewan as flat, dull, boring -- and her imagery just pops our beauty, our soul and how precious these really fragile landscapes are," she said. "One thing that artists do is they help create conversations, and this really creates a positive conversation."