17th annual Castlegar Artwalk underway

Visitors and residents to Castlegar can now take in Sculpture Walk and Artwalk

Most of the artists presenting work in the 2013 Castlegar Artwalk were on hand for the kickoff at the Community Complex in Castlegar onTuesday

Most of the artists presenting work in the 2013 Castlegar Artwalk were on hand for the kickoff at the Community Complex in Castlegar onTuesday

The official kickoff to the 17th annual Castlegar Artwalk was held at the Community Complex on Tuesday, June 25 with the unveiling of another great lineup of artists who will display their photographs, paintings, jewellery, drawings and more in various locations around Castlegar.

Between 80-100 people attended the reception, including about two dozen artists who were on hand to mingle, talk art and answer any questions about their chosen mediums.

Like it’s cousin, Sculpture Walk, the event has continued to grow every year, providing visual delights for visitors and locals alike.

Castlegar Arts Council president, Leni Normington said Art Walk is truly a community event with many volunteers working hard to make this annual happening.

“As soft-impact tourism, Art Walk is non-polluting and attracts people as it generates community pride,” said Normington. “As an agent for community development, Art Walk is a fabulous opportunity to partner business with art. As a walking and driving tour of visual art, Art Walk is exhibiting artists in 24 business/gallery venues during the summer months and continues to be a celebration of the wealth of artistic resources nurtured by the inspiration of our Kootenay region.

“So we thank all the artists who are participating in this years’ 17th Art Walk, we thank them for their commitment to the creative process and their willingness to share their inspiration with us.

“Thank you to all the volunteers and especially to the Art Walk organizing committee Jacquie Hamilton, Sandy Donahue, Kari Burke, Mary Kate Woodward, and Margo Saunders for their volunteer work over the past several months. Their mission continues to be bringing what’s in the artists’ studio to the public in a business mini-gallery.”

Normington said many people come back every year to add to their art collections and had some advice for those gathered.

“Buy what you love,” she said. “Not what matches your sofa… you can always get a new sofa later.”

This year’s Artwalk, which is a self-guided, go-at-your-own-pace tour presented by the Castlegar Arts Council, is organized by the Art Walk Committee and supported by the participation of many business owners.

Normington also said a “big thank you” to the Chamber of Commerce and media supporters the Castlegar News and Mountain FM.

For the artists, Artwalk is an opportunity to exhibit their work outside the usual gallery and studio settings. Some, like first-time participant Andy Samure, saw immediate benefits of the unique business and art community partnership: he sold the only painting he had on display during the reception.

“It’s great,” said Samure. “I’ve sold three in the last four or five weeks and have also given one away.”

Samure said he took up painting about eight years ago, primarily as an answer to the question of what he would do with his retirement years. The painting he gave away was a thank-you to a carpenter friend who supplied him with a number of palette knives, not knowing exactly what they were but suspecting that Samure could make use of them. It hasn’t taken Samure long to become involved with like-minded people, including painter Ida Price who also had her work on display. They are both part of the Robson Painters, a group of artists who meet Mondays at the Robson school from 6:30 – 9 p.m. There is no fee and anyone is welcome to drop in to paint, have a few “fresh eyes” look at their own work or chat with the other artists.

Samure’s work will be on display during Artwalk at Kel Print on Columbia Avenue, while other paintings and drawings from the Robson Painters can be viewed at Central City Shoes.

Restaurants, gas stations, financial institutions, hotels, and other businesses are all taking part as host venues for Artwalk, which runs until September 15.

Brochures detailing all the locations along the Artwalk path can be found at the Chamber of Commerce office as well as participating businesses. The large, colourful brochures are adorned with “Cariboo Waterlilies” by Caroline Halligan and are easy to spot.

For more information, visit www.castlegarculture.com or call the Chamber of Commerce Info Centre at 250-365-6313.