By Shelley Arnusch
The first annual Whistler Arts & Music Festival will launch officially next Friday, July 9 and run through Sunday, July 11.
The Tourism Whistler-sponsored event features live music all weekend long on a Main Stage in the Village Square, plus street entertainers, film and photo events, comedy performances, childrens entertainers, art exhibits and demonstrations.
ArtWalk already up and running
The Whistler Arts Councils first annual summer ArtWalk will kick off officially on the festival weekend with a series of artist-attended opening receptions on the Friday evening (July 9) from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
"Officially" is a key word. Since the ArtWalk is running throughout the entire month of July, those who want to preview the self-guided tour can already do so.
ArtWalk features 20 artists exhibiting in 17 traditional and non-traditional gallery spaces including cafes, retail outlets and other businesses.
Whistler Arts Council director Doti Niedermayer said the response from artists and volunteer galleries alike was tremendous, considering the event is still unfamiliar in its inaugural year.
The arts council received twice as many artist applications as galleries and due to the fact that the galleries selected their exhibitors, the selection process was unavoidably subjective.
"The artists that were rejected, we basically told them that this has nothing to do with the quality of their work, or the content," explained Niedermayer. "People are basically choosing an artist that looks good in their venue. They have to be able to choose their artists, so they did. There was a huge selection, so I think everyone was really happy with who they chose."
ArtWalk brochures, featuring a map of all venues, are available at the Whistler Activity and Information Centre, Whistler Chamber of Commerce, MY (Millennium) Place, and all ArtWalk venues.
For more information contact the Whistler Arts Council at 604-935-8419.
In addition to the ArtWalk, next weekends festival will celebrate the arts with demonstrations by locals Chili Thom (also an ArtWalk exhibitor at Sushi Village), Daniel Poisson, Gavin Livingstone, Scott Johnston, and Wes Nahanee. Renowned chalk artist Brian Major will turn the Village cobblestones into ornate masterpieces. Also in attendance will be caricaturist Mark Siermaczeski and Vania Stager of the Lilwat Nation, who will teach traditional aboriginal craft making.
Festivals unite for film screenings
Two other prominent local festivals have come on board with the Whistler Arts & Music Festival to present film events next weekend.
The eight finalists from the 2004 Panasonic Filmmaker Showdown at the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival will get a free outdoor showing in the Village Square on Friday evening after dark.