Painters in the Grand prix d’Art will be stationed within walking distance of TOSH so spectators can easily walk around and view the artists working.

Painters in the Grand prix d’Art will be stationed within walking distance of TOSH so spectators can easily walk around and view the artists working.

Grand Prix d’Art this Saturday in Qualicum Beach

The annual "race" takes place around The Old Schoolhouse Arts Centre

The Old Schoolhouse Arts Centre is gearing up for the 23rd annual Grand Prix d’Art.

The Grand Prix d’Art is a “race” with artists competing to complete a work of art “en plein air,” which mean working outside on location and not in a studio. The artists must finish their pieces within three hours.

Each painter is assigned a location — by lottery — within Qualicum Beach. All of the locations are within walking distance of the arts centre. Visitors are encouraged to watch the process and the progress of the artist as maps will be provided.

The race starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, and then at 2 p.m. the paintings are brought back to TOSH for framing and judging. Afterwards, the pieces are available for  sale to the public and will be hung for display in the TOSH gallery until Aug. 7

TOSH executive director Corinne James said the work must represent or be inspired by some thing or person that is visible from the assigned location.

Painters of all levels of experience and mediums are welcome to join. People can register any time up to half an hour before race time. Registration can be done in person at TOSH (122 Fern Rd. Qualicum Beach) or by phone (with a credit card) at 250-752-6133. The entry fee is $25 and includes lunch.

James said each year they attract about 50 plein air painters from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, including hundreds of spectators.

This year, James said they are dedicating the Grand Prix d’Art to their dear friend and wonderful artist Ivor Cohen who passed away earlier this year.

“Ivor never missed the event since moving to Qualicum Beach and becoming a TOSH resident artist,” said James, adding that Cohen has participated as both a painter in the race and as a judge.

There will be an exhibition of some of Cohen’s paintings that will be on loan to TOSH, including a watercolour painting of Vancouver titled A View from the North Shore. The exhibition will hang from July 23 to Aug. 7.

During the Grand Prix d’Art, there will also be a free outdoor concert from 12:30-

3:30 p.m., according to James.

“A wonderful quartet comprised of superb, profession musicians from Vancouver and Vancouver Island will treat you to a scintillating spectrum of well-loved jazz tunes in a variety of styles,” James said.

The quartet is made up of Liam Hockley on clarinet, Ron Hadley on piano, Rick Kilburn on bass and Don Leppard on drums.

In conjunction with the Grand Prix d’Art is the fifth annual Art in Action Fair.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. people can stop by the parking lot next to TOSH and watch more than 50 artists as they demonstrate and sell a wide variety of arts and crafts.