Trail resident Shawna Erback will have the opportunity to hang out with some of the biggest names in country music this September.
Erback, a professional painter, was selected as the only visual artist at the Canadian Country Music Awards official gift lounge and is thrilled about the opportunity.
“I can’t wait to get out there and meet the company that’s hosting the awards and I can’t wait to meet some of the country icons I’ve grown up with,” she said.
While she’s been involved in prestigious shows before, Erback said being selected to appear at the awards is one of the highlights of her career.
“To be around the celebrities and stars is another level definitely, it is a big deal,” the country music fan said,
According to the Fronte and Sentre Communication (this year’s official gift lounge producer) website, the lounge is an opportunity for the Canadian Country Music Association to thank performers, nominees, presenters and winners for their contributions but also to provide an incredible marketing opportunity for the artist chosen to fill the venue. It’s made up of donated products from a number of companies.
“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for her and a great platform for a small business or artist to get national recognition,” Raj Thandi, creative director for Fronte and Sentre said. “I know Shawna is very well known as it is but it’s just one more step to getting recognized by so many more people with that far-reaching influence.”
Erback is hoping that’s the result and she’s created a painting exclusively for the awards, prints of which will be given to selected guests who will go through the lounge at the event.
There were several reasons why she was chosen, Thandhi said.
“We’ve never given away an art piece before but her art was very colourful, very vivid and just very pretty — I thought this was something different,” she said about the distinctive gothic fantasy and fairy themed paintings Erback creates.
“We also really enjoy working with small businesses and promoting Canadian homegrown talent because that really goes with the awards — they’re essentially doing the same thing, promoting a lot of small town singers.”
The company looked at hundreds of businesses over the course of the year before making their decision and Thandhi said Erback’s work had all the things they were looking for.
“Some of the criteria we look at is the item easy to give away as a gift, is it unique, is it different, is it made in Canada?” she said. “So a lot of the time we’ve screened people before we even call them.”
Erback is currently in the process of opening her new studio in downtown Trail, hopefully by mid-September she said.
The Canadian Country Music Awards will be held on Sept. 12 in Hamilton, Ont.