With 98 venues from Langdale to Earls Cove, Sunshine Coast Art Crawl weekend – 2020 edition – is good to go from Friday, Oct. 23 to Sunday the 25th.
The pandemic has taken a toll on the highly popular annual event, cutting the number of venues to just over half of those in 2019, which was by far the Crawl’s biggest year ever. Despite that setback, it’s still, in effect, an 85-km-long interactive art show with something for every taste and interest and with more to see and experience than most people could possibly take in over three days.
Three-quarters of this year’s locations will be open to spontaneous drop-ins, the traditional mode of operating. Ten other venues also will allow in-person visits but only by appointment, while 14 have opted to be “virtual-only.” All venues will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, although certain online features might go beyond those hours.
The fact that the Crawl is happening at all in a year of so many major event cancellations is testament to the enthusiastic conviction of the artists themselves and the dedicated work of the organizing group, Coast Cultural Alliance (CCA).
“The artists are really excited,” the CCA’s Linda Williams told Coast Reporter. “A lot of them say, ‘thank you so much, it’s really giving me a goal.’ They feel they and other people want to have some kind of normalcy in their life.”
But it’s a new normalcy. The key changes this year are the pandemic safety precautions all venue operators are required to undertake if they have in-person visitors.
“This year in a package I’ve given them hard copies of all the codes and regulations, and they’re all doing the proper sign-in sheets for tracing,” said Williams. “They’re all getting their sanitaries and their masks and things together. Some are bringing in [gazebo canopy] tents, to put outside for people to wait outside under. They’re going above and beyond.”
The Art Crawl’s free brochure/maps are widely available, and show geographical locations and listings describing the kind of work that can be seen at each venue. Virtual-only and by-appointment venues are clearly marked.
(Williams noted three venues that are labelled as by-appointment or drop-in on the hard-copy map recently switched to virtual-only. They are Cindy Riach, venue 19 in Gibsons; Lucas Kratochwil, venue 56 in Roberts Creek; and Sandy Kay, venue 84 in Halfmoon Bay.)
The website version of the guide is fully updated and has added features, including bios, links, images and introductory videos from participating artists. Many venues will offer an opportunity for Zoom chats with the artists each day. There’s also a chance to win prizes in a contest open to visitors willing to fill out an online survey.
Friday night launch parties have long been a staple of Art Crawl. This year they are virtual, which, as the website notes, at least offers the advantages of “no travelling, no parking, and no designated driver needed.” Among them is a 7 p.m. tongue-in-cheek Literary Arts Gala, “formal dress optional,” hosted by Roberts Creek drop-in venue operator Jane Covernton, during which “amazing Sunshine Coast literary personalities will have five minutes to read, speak, sing, declaim or whatever.” A link will be on the Art Crawl website.
There are 23 first-time venues this year. To name just a few, there’s Orca’s Pod in Gibsons, featuring a tribute to The Beachcombers TV show; Gerald Rainville’s bonsai nursery in Roberts Creek; the Sechelt Arts Festival’s exhibition with six artists at Teredo Square mall; and recently arrived from South Africa, painter and sculptor Zaan Claassens in Halfmoon Bay.
Painter Ken Walters was last-minute addition to the Art Crawl and is not listed on the hard-copy map but is on the online edition as venue 98. Ken is well known for the large murals he’s painted in the Pender Harbour area. He’s showing on a drop-in basis at his neighbours’ home at Sunshine Villa B&B, 13184 Sunshine Coast Hwy.