Whether you’re new to the area, just visiting, or are simply
interested in checking out some local talent, Whistler’s annual ArtWalk is the
perfect crash course in the visual arts.
ArtWalk is a self-guided walking tour that takes art lovers to
stores, bars, restaurants and art galleries throughout the village to check out
a wide range of works by local artists. ArtWalk runs from July 1 until Aug. 31,
is free of charge and is open to all members of the public.
Traci Despatis is the events manager for the Whistler Arts
Council, the group that organizes ArtWalk.
“This year we actually had so many high quality artists and not
enough venues that we had to jury artists into Millennium Place this year, so
it was great!” she said. The arts council ended up accepting 12 artists to
exhibit in Millennium Place.
The artists lineup this year is unique and eclectic, with
everything from the portraits by Cary Campbell Lopes on display at Lily
Cosmetic Boutique, to the funky, vibrant drawings and paintings of Taka
Organizers have added a few new venues to the event, as well.
The Wild Wood, two new galleries in the Westin, the Tantalus Lodge, and the
Whistler Golf Course are all participating in the 2008 ArtWalk.
Despatis said it’s not exactly hard to get local businesses to
agree to participate in ArtWalk — it’s free décor for their storefront,
and they get to select which pieces fit their business best. A lot of the
businesses also develop working relationships with the artists who exhibit in
their space during ArtWalk, and ultimately decide to keep the work hanging up
So, local businesses get temporary artwork and more foot
traffic, while artists get a space to exhibit their work.
“It’s not only to showcase all of our local Sea to Sky artists
in venues outside of… galleries, but also to help them promote and sell their
artwork,” said Despatis.
This year, the arts council will be focusing on helping with
the commercial side of things. Volunteers will be on-hand to help sell artwork
and educate the full-time staff at each venue so they will be able to answer
questions from customers and visitors during the entire two months of ArtWalk.
“We’re actually going to be adding art curators to each of the
opening reception locations, or at least as many of them as we can, so that we
have people on-site that are knowledgeable with the artists that happen to be
in the venues.”
Despatis said WAC has wanted to make this change for a few
years, and the opportunity finally presented itself.
This year, they’ve also made a slight change to the opening
receptions by breaking them up, holding one near the beginning, on Friday, July
4, and another at the mid-way point, on Friday, Aug. 1.
“We just found that last year, it was really spread out, and
there seemed to be those couple of places that people congregated, but it was
really hard to really tour all the venues in one evening,” Despatis explained.
“So what we decided to do is actually split the village up, kind of condense it
a bit more, therefore allowing people to get through all of the venues and be
able to drop by all of the opening receptions.”
With over 27 venues featuring the work of 50 artists, its easy
to see how only one night of opening celebrations could get a bit chaotic.
So, the first 13 venues will host receptions on July 4, with
the remaining 14 venues hosting events on Aug. 1, but all of the artwork will
be on display in each of the 27 designated venues for the duration of ArtWalk.
The change is designed to allow organizers to maintain the
momentum and enthusiasm of the event by giving them an opportunity to
re-promote ArtWalk halfway through, and keep it in the forefront of people’s
ArtWalk starts with the first venue, also the title sponsor of
ArtWalk, Whistler Real Estate Company, featuring the work of Joan Baron, and
works through the village from Marketplace to Town Plaza, then from the village
common to the upper village.
The self-guided walking tour brochure will be available again
this year, which makes it easy for people to see the vast array of local talent
Whistler has on offer. There are also a few local artists who can offer guided
tours to larger groups who book in advance.
For a full list of venues and artists participating in ArtWalk, visit www.whistlerartscouncil.com .