A&E » Arts

Nick returns to the roots of ARTrageous

Celebrating almost two decades of arts, culture and creativity in Whistler



What: ARTrageous

When: Thursday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Where: Dusty's (Creekside)

Cost: WAC members, $20; non-members, $30

Today, ARTrageous is typically referred to as "Whistler's original art party." And according to its founder, that's exactly what it is.

Christina Nick has worked in a wide variety of artistic forms - writing poetry, drawing, mixed media paintings, collages, printmaking, etchings, welded steel sculpture and carving - all of which is inspired by nature, travel and the environment.

Originally from Montreal, Nick studied fine arts at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick before moving to the Sea to Sky region in the late '80s. In 1992, just a few years after she had moved to the area, Nick and a friend, Alison Winslow, had the idea to throw a party.

"She's an art framer - she's also very into culture and art - and we're really good friends," Nick recalled with a smile. "We started working together at Whistler Mountain; we were the cappuccino girls up at Pikas."

Nick was in the process of preparing for an art show in Vancouver and Winslow was making her frames with the help of another local artist and musician, Cam Salay.

"We were thinking, 'Well, there's nothing like that in Whistler. There's nothing where I can just show my artwork, other than in the commercial galleries. And at that point, I wasn't vaguely prepared to show my stuff in a Whistler gallery.'"

So, they decided to organize their own show, and ARTrageous was born.

"Basically, what we wanted was to profile the arts in Whistler and tie it in with a fun evening, with music and beer."

That first year, ARTrageous was held at the Whistler Mountain Ski Club cabin and featured just five or six artists, including Nick and local potter, Vincent "Binty" Massey. Route 99 - Stephen and Peter Vogler and Cam Salay - performed and almost 200 people showed up.

"It was a pretty big party, but typically at that time, any party at the ski club cabin was a good party, so everyone showed up!" Nick said.

"And I think some people were just curious to see an art show from locals in Whistler. It wasn't happening at the time. No one was doing that! So this was literally the first time we were trying to showcase artists in Whistler."

The party was popular, so they decided to bring it back for a second year. The struggle was, of course, finding a free venue - the event was artist-run and they had no funding. But they managed, hosting the second ARTrageous at Blackcomb Kid's Camp, with about nine or 10 artists showing. They would eventually go on to host shows in Function Junction and even the old gondola barn in Creekside before it was torn down.

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