The 2021 Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, from Oct. 22 to 24, will feature more venues, more artists, and fewer pandemic-related changes than were in place in 2020, unless new health orders are issued before then by the provincial government.
“Because there are so many individual venues, there’s no way we can do any kind of [COVID-related] recommendations overall, other than that the venues follow the provincial guidelines,” Coast Cultural Alliance (CCA) board member and spokesperson Linda Williams told Coast Reporter.
In 2020, the Art Crawl dropped to 97 venues, down by nearly half from the record high of 186 locations in those heady pre-COVID days of October 2019.
This year, the number of venues has jumped back up, to 164, with more than 250 artists participating.
The 2020 version also tried to accommodate health concerns by offering vendors some options, as on online-only venue, or taking in visitors only by appointment. Those choices aren’t on the table for 2021, but the overarching guideline is still safety-first.
“We are following all the health regulations, period,” Williams said.
At press time, the only restriction on indoor events where participants are not seated is that masks be worn at all times by those over the age of 12. Requiring proof of vaccination is optional for venues where the number of visitors is kept under 50. Some smaller Art Crawl venues might ask for vaccination cards, but for now that’s at their discretion.
“We were just going to have to take responsibility as individuals, as artists and as visitors,” said Williams.
Sign-in sheets will be required for all venues, not for pandemic contact purposes, but in order that the CCA can collect a few statistics.
Art crawlers can also answer a quick online survey to be eligible for prizes of a two-night stay at Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina, or ferry travel vouchers. Winners will be named in a draw to be held on Oct. 31.
Williams noted there are 46 new venues this year. Also, there are more in the Pender Harbour area than ever – 15. And for some reason, there’s been a blossoming of new Art Crawl locations at the west end of Beach Avenue in Roberts Creek.
“There are eight of them that are on Beach Avenue close to Henderson (Road) this year,” she said. “And I think seven of them are new.”
The Art Crawl is also welcoming a new major sponsor this year, Longman Developments.
“They’ve come in because their core values are similar to ours, in community-building,” said Williams. Sunshine Coast Credit Union is also back as a major sponsor, Williams noted, as it has been since 2010.
Art Crawl does receive modest grant support from local governments but is not eligible for provincial or federal funding, so is otherwise dependent on local business sponsorships and $135 venue fees to make the event possible.
The Art Crawl generated close to $600,000 in sales and commissions in 2019.