Art From the Attic Treasures

Art From the Attic Treasures

We, as volunteers for Art From the Attic love interacting with our customers as they queue up early for the “best” deals or leisurely browse the aisles and bins looking for that special something that “speaks” to them.

We also love to hear and see their their pleasure and excitement when they find something “really cool”, or “fantastic”, or “just perfect for my….”.

So this year we reached out to some of these customers and asked them to share their Art From the Attic treasures and tell us why they are special to them.

We hope you enjoy these shared moments as much as we did!

Do you have an Art From the Attic Story to share. We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us through the “Contact Us” or email directly to

Treasure Story 8 – Art From the Attic Repeat Customer Always Finds Something Special at Art From the Attic

Michael Wasyllin, a lawyer practicing out of a beautiful historic brick building that used to the Beausejour Post Office, has been at all five Art From the Attic sales. Michael is an art enthusiast and collector of Indigenous art.

Recently, Michael invited me out to Beausejour to chat about the Art From the Attic treasures he has picked up over these past five years, and, more importantly, to show them off in their new home.

The walls throughout the reception and office area display interesting and memorable art pieces, but it is in the conference room where one gets a sense of Michael’s passion for Indigenous art. The walls are covered with beautiful Indigenous art pieces, many of which he has found at an Art From the Attic sales.

As he pointed out some of his favourites art pieces, Michael mentioned that he and his wife, Claire, also have several pieces hanging in their home. Michael enjoys the colour pallet, flow of lines endemic to the Indigenous art form and the stories told in each piece of art.

A beautiful stained glass polar bear (also an Art From the Attic find) hangs in the window and compliments the other pieces on the wall.

Michael says he fully intends to take in Art From the Attic 2020, which will be held September 13, at at St. Vital Centre.

Treasure Story 7 – Tasteful Elegance (at a bargain price)

This beautiful abstract original watercolour on the left found a home on this mantle. It was a steal at $20!

Treasure Story 6 – The Little Watercolour That Spoke From an Art From The Attic 2019 Table

This year for the first time, Art From the Attic (AFTA) had a “two for one” sale at the end of the day. A buyer came through with two $10 pieces including this watercolour shown. It was in a black frame, signed “Jo Ott” and titled “Autumn”.  The buyer recognized it for a Southwestern US scene and was drawn to the subtle underlying drawing and the use of colour.

Jo Ott 15 x 20 cm

Part of the allure of buying art that has come from some else’s “attic” is the mystery of where it came from. This buyer decided to do a little research on the painter and found online entries for a Jo Ott Designs Gallery and Gifts in Mesilla on the outskirts of Las Cruces, New Mexico, which is near the state’s southern border, north of El Paso and east of Tucson, AZ.  This gallery seems to be closed now but the Las Cruces Sun-News on September 9, 1974 also had an article with the headline “Jo Ott: FNB Artist of the month” (FNB seems to stand for First National Bank). As well an oil painting of a New Mexico scene by “Jo Ott” had been on Ebay but seems to have been sold.  Finally, using one of several American public records search sites, the buyer learned with some confidence that Ms. Ott was born in 1931 and is living in Wisconsin now. 

How did the painting get from Messila, NM to AFTA in Winnipeg?  The buyer removed the painting from its frame and found a sticker indicating that it had been framed at Michaels in Winnipeg in November 1994 and concluded that this painting must have been bought by snow birds visiting the Mesilla area about 25 years ago; and surely a lovely reminder of warmer climes. So, time well wasted acting on curiosity.

A reminder that the sun shines warmly somewhere and another great bargain from AFTA!

Treasure Story 5 – The Picture that brings back Italy

“A number of years ago, my daughter and I embarked on a wonderful holiday in Italy. It was the kind of holiday that left us in tears at the airport for the return home. I loved Italy and treasure the memories.

My sister-in-law who volunteers for Grands and More was working on the first Art (From) the Attic fundraiser and (was) circulating photos of some of the art work that was for sale. That’s where I saw MY PICTURE! I have no idea of where it is depicting but it so reminds me of some of the places we visited on our dream trip. I had to have it! I asked her to keep an eye out for it and if she came across it on sale day, to mark it sold, at whatever the cost. When she found it, she warned me, “It’s rather large.” Fine! If I didn’t have room for it, I could always move!  So I got my picture of Italy (even if it isn’t!) and it holds pride of place in my living room where every day I see it and get reminded of our marvelous trip-of-a-lifetime!”

Treasure Story 4 – An A. Entz original finds its new forever home

Attracted by its clean abstract lines and palette choice, a young woman chose this piece of art for her character apartment in West Broadway. Upon arriving home, she discovered that the artist had emigrated to Canada from Germany in 1952, studied art at Brandon University and various summer schools and seminars in France, Scotland and Manitoba. Her works were exhibited in numerous group shows and a solo exhibit in Brandon in 1973. While other pieces have found homes in private collections in Canada, Scotland and Germany, this treasure is loved here, in its new Winnipeg home!

Treasure Story 3 – Art to Evoke Travel Memories

These two west coast treasures found at Art From the Attic 2018 sparked great memories for their buyers. The shoppers had traveled to Haida Gwaii, but did not bring any art back with them. Therefore they were delighted to find these wonderful pieces of art at the sale! We receive art from all over the world. You never know what you’ll find!

Treasure Story 2 – New Art Ties Personal Spaces Together

This first time customer had a great time sorting through all the Art From the Attic (AFTA) treasures. AFTA was a dream come true for his bare walls! We agree that his excellent art selections make his house feel more like a home.

Treasure Story 1 – A Child’s Sandbox Dream Toy

One of the unique art pieces at this year’s Art From the Attic was a mammoth 5 foot by 4 foot original painting of a bulldozer/backhoe. As much as it was admired, most treasure hunters were completely baffled as to where one could hang it. Thanks to the creative foresight of one set of  parents, a lucky little 5 year old boy is very excited to have this fantastic treasure on his wall.