A number of artists were saluted Saturday night at Element Club, Bar and Grill in Castlegar before a performance by acclaimed talk-rocker Shane Koyzcan.
The occasion was the annual awards gala for the increasingly popular Castlegar Sculpturewalk.
A selection of 50 works were featured in this year’s event. Picking up the coveted People’s Choice Award was Douglas Walker of Black Creek on Vancouver Island, for his work entitled “Honkfest” which has been on display in front of Castlegar City Hall.
The artist spoke gratefully of the ongoing program following his win, stressing how much he and the other artists appreciate their reception by walk organizers.
“They treat us like gold when we get here,” he said. “They cover some expenses for us, put us up in hotels if we need it.
“I especially want to thank my business partner and wife, who isn’t here tonight. Behind every semi-successful artist there’s a somebody with a really good job.”
Following the ceremonies Walker was asked about the creation of the winning work.
“I got the idea in Edmonds, Washington, I think about three or four years ago. I met a guy and he said, ‘Have you got any baritone horns?’ I said I’ve got a whole stack of them. He said, ‘What could you do?’
“I got the idea of five baritones pouring water out. They were all stacked up in a spiral. He never did order that fountain but I pursued the idea anyway, and five seemed too big so it ended up with three baritones topped with saxes. I built the fountain originally for a show on Granville Island in Vancouver, so three or four hundred thousand people saw the sculpture before it got here. And when they decided to do a fountain for this year’s Sculpturewalk, I thought, ‘This is the one.'” (This version of Honkfest has been modified somewhat from the example that appeared at Granville Island.) Many others have obviously felt the same, hence the major award, $3,000 cash prize and the sale to the City of Castlegar where the work will remain in perpetuity.
Walker feels pretty good about his ongoing connection with Castlegar that has been created.
“It’s truly amazing that a community can put this together,” he concluded, “because it’s nowhere else in Canada. There are very few places where you can do something like this, in North America, let alone Canada. I’m very proud to have this piece here.”