With 122 participating galleries and studios involving over 300 artists, this year's Sunshine Coast Art Crawl from Oct. 18 to 20 promises to be a dynamic, sensory overload weekend.
The Art Crawl encourages visits to some of your favourite artists in their home studios from Langdale to Lund, north of Powell River. This year, the fourth annual, there are 47 new venues — some of them artists well known in the community who have never hosted before, such as graphic designer Roger Handling. He's been out crawling like thousands of other visitors for the past two years and has met many new artists that way who have become friends. He figures the art scene on the Coast has matured over the past ten years and the Crawl is a sign of that development.
"This year I decided to participate largely because I've embarked on a collection of new work that incorporates a new style and is fairly substantially linked thematically,” Handling said. He hopes to get feedback from the general public for the work and the Crawl is a perfect opportunity to do so.
Also new to the Crawl are artists Jen Drysdale and Christy Sverre, who will show their thought-provoking acrylic and oil paintings on Stewart Road, near Gibsons. The Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinet Making in Roberts Creek is a good indication that the Crawl includes more than paintings. Wood, clay, glass, metal and creative recyclables will be on show at many venues on the Coast.
At Goldmoss Gallery in Roberts Creek, host artists Bon and Lee Roberts will open a new show of contemporary work, Untamed, with ten featured artists on Friday, Oct. 18, from 7 to 10 p.m. The group includes respected Coast artists such as Donna Balma, R.B. Wainwright and Jay Senetchko.
Another artist who can't wait for the public to beat a path to his door is stone carver George Pratt. "For six months now, the chips have been a-flying down at my studio," he said, "with lots of new pieces among the good old collection you know me for." Participation is especially useful for Pratt as he's located up a side road, off the main highway in Secret Cove. The Art Crawl points the way to his property.
In the Powell River area, more artists than before have signed up, including a new gallery opening that weekend. The Dancing Tree Gallery features stoneware by Darlene Calwell and paintings by internationally renowned artist Autumn Skye Morrison.
Here's how it works. Pick up a map and brochure of the participating artists or find one online at sunshinecoastartcrawl.com. Set out on Saturday and Sunday (some venues have a Friday evening opening) between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and visit as many as you want, for as long as you want. It's your tour. Some venues are clustered within walking distance of each other.
Enjoy a chat with the artist, pause for refreshments and carry your wallet. Admission is free, but you are guaranteed to find unique artwork, signed by the artist, that you will want to buy. At your first stop, pick up an Art Crawl passport and have it stamped at each venue. At the end of the weekend, the passports can be entered for a prize draw — a gift certificate from Ruby Lake Resort.
The Coast Cultural Alliance organizes the Crawl and they are expecting at least as many visitors as in 2012, when 18,000 studio visits were recorded. If you can't wait to get started, try the Art Crawl online auction running right now at www.32auctions.com/artcrawl2013.