Whistler Arts Experience really does offer something for everyone By Paul Andrew A look at the events which comprise the first Whistler Arts Experience, June 18-20, is worth a few minutes study, because there’s a good chance you will see something that catches your eye. The festival begins with an opening arts exhibit and reception at the newly named Rebagliati Park. Canadian artist Toni Onley, whose watercolours of the mountains surrounding Whistler are collected internationally, will talk about putting art back into your life. Most of the artists who are conducting workshops this weekend will have their work on display in the tent at Rebagliati Park. The reception, on Friday, June 18, begins at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $20. Or, on the same evening, you may have an appetite for live theatre. If that’s the case, check out the Whistler Players’ collaboration with Squamish’s Between Shifts Theatre Company and their co-production of Busy Body, a lively two-hour British murder mystery. The performance begins at 8 p.m. sharp at the Myrtle Philip elementary school gym. Admission for the play is $10 for adults and $8 for students. The play runs both Friday and Saturday. Another presentation by theatre actors takes place Saturday evening when Debra Wilson from the original cast of Mom’s the Word, along with four other women, will read from scripts which extend on the original theme of parenting an infant. After Bedtime Stories for Tired Parents will take place in the festival tent at Rebagliati Park at 8 p.m. June 19. Earlier Saturday, the festival begins taking shape with at least eight workshops hosted by local artists: o From 9 a.m. to noon, Whistler photographer and journalist Chris Woodall will conduct a Nature Photography workshop at Myrtle Philip community centre. The workshop will include outdoor instruction. Amateurs and professional are welcome. o Mountain Talking Sticks, at the Town Plaza Gazebo, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., will be instructed by Julian Nemeth. Participants will take home their own talking sticks which they create and decorate with the aid of Nemeth. o Mehndi-Henna Body Art, from 10 a.m. to noon, also at Myrtle Philip, will be led by Vancouver artist Raqiya Khan who "blends her experiences of Western and Eastern culture" to explore the creative endeavours of henna body art designs. o A real treat will be visiting Isobel MacLaurin’s home studio above Alpha Lake in Whistler. This long-time Whistler Valley artist will demonstrate the Fundamental Techniques of Pencil Drawing from 9 a.m. until noon. Each person who attends the workshop will take home their own "masterpiece from the mountain." o One of a Kind Prints, from 2 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., features Whistlerite Hugh Kearney as the instructor for the unique two-dimensional art form known as mono-printing. Several finished works will result from the workshop for each student. The workshop is at Myrtle Philip school. o Kaoru Nakahama, the owner of Senka Florists in Whistler, will instruct a workshop on floral design as an art form. Nakahama will discuss the philosophy behind Ikebana and demonstrate the design basics before handing the flowers and tools over to the participants. o Sketchbook for Life, led by Christina Nick, the person most responsible for the long running Whistler art exhibit called Artrageous, will get students started on a project of a lifetime of impressions and expressions. The idea is to create a personal record of your life using print making, drawing, painting and the written word. The workshop takes place at Myrtle Philip school from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. o Last but certainly not the least of the Arts Experience workshops will be hosted by landscape artist Onley, who favours watercolours for his paintings. "One does not have to draw a straight line in my class as there are no straight lines in nature," Onley says. He will demonstrate and examine how to "see the landscape" and how to select specific landscapes for whatever you have in mind. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be "inspired by the master" will include a painting which budding artists will take home. Watercolours with Toni Onley begins at 2 p.m. and runs until 6 p.m. in the atrium at the Whistler Conference Centre. There is a fee to attend each of the workshops, which are repeated on Sunday at the same times and locations. Tickets are available at the Whistler Activity Centre ticket booth and range from $40 to $75. A shuttle bus will leave the conference centre bus loop to take participants to Myrtle Philip throughout the weekend, and to shuttle artists to MacLaurin’s studio.