Central Island Studio Tour features artists from Parksville to Campbell River, and places in between

The seventh incarnation of Comox Valley Arts’ Central Island Studio Tour is coming up May 24-26 – with over 85 artists’ spaces open between Parksville and Campbell River.

All participating studios are open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, and no appointments are necessary. Grab some friends and go explore. Carpooling is encouraged.

Studio artists include established artists – folks who sell their work around the world and are collected in public and private galleries – as well as emerging and experimenting artists who have either just begun their careers or are perhaps shifting to a new genre.

There is something for every taste – paintings of all types, sculpture, pottery, photography, stained glass, fused glass, sandblasted glass, scratchboard, pyrography, metal jewellery, polymer wearables, weaving, woodwork, furniture, figurines, big art, little art, art cards, art prints, original art, upcycled art.

There’s art that lights up, art you can read and art that floats. There’s realistic, abstract, modern, contemporary, traditional, whimsical, weird and wonderful art.

There is no fee to visit the studios, and many will have surprise treats to share on Studio Tour weekend, as well as great in-studio pricing for their work. Numerous stops include multiple artists, too.

New this year are Friday Night Parties. More than a dozen studios from one end to the other are hosting events for tour visitors. Find more details on the website (www.centralislandartsguide.ca) – look under “Friday Night Parties” in the main menu.

To go on the tour, just pick up a copy of the Central Island Arts Guide or visit CentralIslandTour.com to find all the listings. On the website there are photo galleries, studio details and links to detailed maps. There’s a Google map for mobile devices, and downloadable maps to print. There are fold-out maps to pick up at studios and key locations.

Also new, a year-round visitor contest. Scan the code at each studio for chances to win great prizes.

With over 90 destinations on the tour – representing more than 140 artists, it’s not really possible to see everything in just three days – and that’s not the point. There is so much richness available, producers suggest to pick an area and dive in. Easily fill an entire day or more with the 11 studios in Parksville and Qualicum, then head into Bowser and Fanny Bay for another 12. Or, with the 70+ across the Comox Valley, one could spend the whole weekend and probably not see them all. At the north end, there are 12 between Campbell River, Black Creek and Merville. Plus, there are five in Union Bay and two on Denman Island– so even if with island getaway plans, it’s possible to make a few stops in one direction or the other.

It’s recommended to use the website and make a list, then map them out. “Save your faves” online, too. Create fantastic tour to new places. Many are easy to find, and most have lots of signage marking them. Another approach is to pick a familiar area and watch for the red Studio arrows and green flags.

Take a chance and visit ones that are out of the way. Magic might happen.

The Central Island Arts Guide and Studio tour are produced by Comox Valley Arts, your community arts council. They are proud to facilitate face-to-face interactions between audience and artist, and to demonstrate the vastness of the Arts & Culture producers in this region. This year’s guide is just a slice of what is at our doorstep. Seek out favourites… and discover new ones.

Comox Valley Arts thanks the Province of British Columbia, the BC Arts Council, the City of Courtenay, Black Press, What’s On Digest and 97.3 The Eagle, for supporting this important project. The artists and makers thank you for making time to visit.

Most of the artists are also happy to accept visitors throughout the year by appointment, and some have regular year-round hours for drop-ins. Contact the artists via their listing on the website, or by phone – also listed on the website and in the Arts Guide. Don’t be shy.

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