For one special evening, community and council members gathered to rub elbows with some of the most talented sculptors and artists from around the world.
The 5th annual Castlegar Sculpturewalk Awards Gala took place on Saturday and organizers are calling it a great success.
The night opened up with brief performances from the troupe “Circus Acts Insomniacs” and musical group “Bessie Wapp & Friends” before vice chairman for Sculpturewalk, Chris Bell, took the stage.
Bell’s speech set the tone for the remainder of the night. Charming and somewhat serious with plenty of jokes thrown in for good measure.
“This event is about community,” Bell began. “It’s also about providing a venue for artists to display their work.”
“I know that most of you know that artists are very wealthy people. They’re in it for the money mostly,” Bell laughed.
Taking a more serious tone, Bell went on to say he was happy with the turnout but the work doesn’t end with the gala.
Sculpturewalks longterm goal is “to keep selling as many pieces from the downtown tour out into the community to become part of the permanent collection, so that we can reach our goal of having 250 pieces in and around our area.”
Bell then welcomed Executive Director, Joy Barrett to the stage for the award ceremonies.
“We’ve accomplished a great deal in just five years,” Barrett said, “We are now the #1 Castlegar visitor experience on Trip Advisor, and I’m thrilled to say that this year we’ve been officially recognized by the Canadian Government with the trademark, the sculpture capital of Canada.”
For the awards, there were two distinct categories; People’s Choice awards and Artist Merit awards.
For the Artist Merit: third place went to “The Kiss” by Serge Moznehvsky, second to “Zodiac Totem” by Pokey Park, and first place to “Northern Leopard Frog” by Kevin Kratz and James Karthein.
Kratz, was ecstatic about the win.
“I think we’re gonna move to Castlegar. Are there any real estate agents who would like to rent us a shop? We want to make sculptures for you every year, for the next 400 years.”
Winners of the People’s Choice awards included: “Saturday’s Distractions” by Lee Leuning & Sherri Treeby and “Sea Swimmer” by Heather Wall tied for third.
Second went to “Sphere” by Carl Schlichting and first place was awarded to “Northern Leopard Frog” again.
This was the first time the same sculpture was awarded first place in both categories.
All winners were given a cash prize in addition to the amount their sculpture sold for.
Artist and two-time winner James Karthein was at a loss for words.
“It’s huge. It’s such a nod to the work we do. We put hundreds of hundreds of hours into that frog and to be rewarded with both awards, it’s, it’s, I don’t know, I’m speechless. I’m pumped, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Once the awards were handed out the stage was cleared for the entertainment acts.
For the next couple of hours dancers and acrobats performed alongside comedian Lucas Myers and musicians Bessie Wapp & Friends.
Although the gala is over for this year, many submissions have already been sent in for next year’s Sculpturewalk including entries from areas as far away as Australia, Cuba and Iran.
For information on voting and events, or to view any of the sculptures, visit www.sculpturewalkcastlegar.com