In a year where events of all types have been wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's comforting that a couple of cornerstones will be returning, albeit in a different form.
The Squamish Arts Council's annual Art Walk is set to run from Nov. 1 to 28, with some pandemic adaptations, of course.
Executive director Amy Liebenberg said that while the number of participating artists, at roughly 25, is consistent with past years, there are understandably fewer hosting venues in 2020.
"They're either not open or not interested in encouraging excess clientele, especially if they're just coming to look and not necessarily coming to patronize the business," she said.
The venues taking part this year are: Zephyr Café, Saha Eatery, Squamish Academy of Music, Northyards Cider, the Squamish Public Library, The Ledge Community Coffee House, Andy Anissimoff Gallery and Britannia Mine Museum.
While the event's art-viewing element is similar to years past, the more radical change has to do with studio tours and other artist interaction, as many of the studios are small and not suited to welcoming the public for a peek behind the curtain at this time.
Instead, artists will share "the tools they use, the processes they use and how their wonderful, creative imaginations transform ordinary materials into the magic you see all around," Liebenberg said. The tours will be available on Instagram by searching the hashtag #squamishartist.
"Enjoy the behind-the-scenes tours and enjoy what these incredible artists are making," she said.
As well, the Anonymous Art Show will be back for a second go-around.
"We have some of the most amazing artists I've ever known who live and work in Squamish and so it's going to be really fun to have them back again for some Anonymous Art Show pieces," she said.
Artists will submit their pieces by early November, while the show is set for Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.
"You hope to be the first in line to grab a piece that most delights you," she said.
Introducing our Zephyr Cafe location of collaborative art work that will be displayed for our Art Walk program launching...Posted by Squamish Arts Council on Friday, October 23, 2020
In terms of participants, Liebenberg said there are always a few surprises, as last year, there were several who hadn't painted in many years if ever before, while there were some who work in a different medium, such as textiles, trying their hands at something new.
Liebenberg said that with many artists having had tough times this year, they would appreciate a purchase or, at the very least, a message of support for a job well done.
"Our creative community deserves all of our support and a big round of applause for continuing to do some pretty heavy emotional lifting on behalf of the community," she said.
For more, visit squamishartscouncil.com.
Foyer Gallery set for fundraiser
One of the Art Walk participants, Foyer Gallery at the Squamish Public Library, will hold a fundraising event of its own in November.
The gallery was unable to host its traditional events, a May gala with an exhibit in the lead-up, where for a $50 sponsorship, patrons can take part in a "raffle for art" event.
This year, supporters are encouraged to take part in a pay-what-you-can campaign of sponsorship. Each supporter will be entered into a random draw for one of six pieces of artwork by a local artist or a one-on-one virtual art lesson from curator and painting instructor Toby Jaxon. To donate, head to squamishlibrary.ca.
"We formatted it and decided that we'd take a stab at getting some donations before 2020 ends," she said with a chuckle.
Among the artists donating pieces are three volunteers, also known as the "hanging crew" for their work installing new exhibits monthly or, now during COVID, every six weeks: 20-plus-year veteran Fran Solar, 13-year helper Linda Wagner and, in her third year, relative newbie Karen Yaremkewich.
The three have not only diverse mediums, with Wagner being an oil painter, Yaremkewich being a fabric artist and Solar working with metal, but they also have distinct skills when installing the shows.
"Fran is a master at creating interesting vignettes. We've got these three beautiful display cases, so that's her specialty. Linda, she's super gifted at figuring out where all the wall art should go and coordinating the pieces based on size and style and colours. Karen, she's really proactive at moving the inventory around, getting up on the ladder—and it doesn't hurt that she's super tall," Jaxon said.
Jaxon added that she's also been creating virtual versions of the galleries so visitors can decide if there's a piece they'd like to see more closely or purchase before arriving, especially given the library's limited hours.