I happily returned to Vancouver from a vacation of two weeks and was overjoyed to see that warmer weather had blissfully arrived. My season of hibernation has now ended and I’m set to partake in the many spring and summer events happening across the city.
One of my favourite aspects of my hometown is its vibrant community networks and initiatives. This weekend (May 27-28, 2017), Artists in Our Midst (AIOM) presents the West of Main Art Walk, an opportunity to explore Vancouver, meet local artists, and even participate in demos and workshops.
AIOM consists of a group of artists committed to celebrating and promoting visual art awareness and involvement in Vancouver through public talks, exhibits, art residencies, and artists programs at Lord Byng Mini School for the Arts.
Now in its 25th incarnation, AIOM’s West of Main Art Walk began in 1993 when painter Pnina Granirer went to an open studio event, called Génie de la Bastille, in Paris, France. The experience compelled her to talk with artist Anne Adams in getting a similar initiative started in Vancouver.
Fast forward to 2017 and the event continues, bigger and better than ever (May 27-28, 2017, 11am to 5pm). The Walk encompasses a huge swathe of the city, basically from Granville Island to 41st Avenue (North to South), and from Blanca Street to Main Street. With the weather promising sunshine, biking around would be a great option, as would transit. Or, you could focus on one smaller area and stroll from studio to studio.
The event involves more than 30 cafes, shops, and studios opening their doors to the public in a free invitation for the public to see the artists’ creations, as well as interact and chat with them.
The artists on the roster employ a wide variety of media, including acrylic paint, hand-felted wool, porcelain clay, photography, and digital media. A silent auction will also be taking place at the studios, allowing you to bid on works and private one-on-one studio classes, with all proceeds going to the West of Main Art Walk Legacy Scholarship Fund for young and emerging artists from Lord Byng Secondary School and Arts Umbrella.
Some artists worth checking out include:
1. Judy Osburn (2638 West 7th Avenue)
Osburn, who specializes in stoneware pottery, has been involved in ceramics for over 15 years, focusing on hand-building as of a year ago. She makes garden and home ornaments, based on images of birds and fish she’s encountered on trips to Mexico. The collection you’ll see is entitled “Wings for Angels,” dedicated to children with Angelman’s Syndrome. $ 10 from each sale goes to the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome.
2. Amy Stewart (The Beaumont, Building 1, 316 West 5th Avenue)
Stewart is a mixed media painter who produces evocative creations inspired by nature’s beauty, as well as themes of community and emotionality. Her time working with children and youth in crisis showed her art’s healing powers, both for those she was working with and herself. Viewers are meant to connect with and explore their own emotions when viewing her paintings. Stewart plays with colour and texture in her artistic practice.
3. Gary Nay (Arts Off Main, 216 East 28th Avenue)
Nay, a digital artist who uses his iPad as his medium, is presenting a collection entitled “Landscapes from the Edge.” The works are both dystopian and nostalgic of familiar places that are reimagined through his lens. They feel both abstract, yet highly concrete.
Demos and Workshops
In addition, there will be demos and workshops at Aberthau Mansion (4397 West 2nd Avenue). For example, on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 11:30am, Louise Bradley, president of West Coast Clay Sculpture Society, will demo making small clay figures. Participants will also get to make one as well.
Another interesting workshop will occur on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 2pm when Linsey Jack, a member of the Greater Vancouver Weavers and Spinners Guild, will demo and teach spinning.
Overall, the West of Main Art Walk would be a fantastic date idea, as well as a casual and fun outing with friends. Or, a solo wandering through studios would also be lovely. See the AIOM website for further details, including a map of the locations of all the artist studios. Admission is free to all events.