The streets of Qualicum Beach will be bursting with creativity Saturday, July 25.
The Old School House (TOSH) is gearing up for the annual the Grand Prix d’Art and Art in Action Art Fair.
TOSH executive director Corinne James said the Grand Prix d’Art will see artists from around Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland get out of their studios and onto the streets of Qualicum Beach from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
For more than two decades the event has attracted top notch plein air painters and hundreds of spectators.
Each plein air painter is assigned a location by lottery and their work has to represent or be inspired by something or a person that is visible from the assigned location.
Visitors are encouraged to watch the process and the progress of the artists at the various locations all within walking distance of TOSH.
Errington artist Dan Gray is the one who initiated the event 23 years ago and he has been in every race but one since its inception.
Gray missed participating last year because he had to be out of town and James said they are thrilled to have him back as well as some other die-hards.
“We have a few artists who have been in every one. We have some regulars and a few past winners coming back. It is a great mixture of people,” she acknowledged.
All of the pieces created that day will be available for purchase.
James said out of town buyers will want to take theirs home but the rest will be on display at TOSH until August 9.
As well, James said a calendar of the best 12 paintings will be sold as a fundraiser for the arts centre.
The painters have to complete their work within the three-hour limit and have the paintings in display condition, titled and priced for sale no later than one hour after completion.
Past events have attracted top notch painters and this year James said she is displaying some of the other work her famous artists have created.
“I am having a winners circle exhibition. Past winners will have their regular work on display in the large gallery. When it is a painting they can spend a lot of time on they are great. It is kind of nice to see what their work is like that hasn’t been created in just three hours.”
It will be a busy Saturday at TOSH with 50 artists participating in the Art in Action Fair.
From 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. visitors can browse an interactive arts festival that includes demos by a wide range of artisans and hands on activities for children.
James said several events are planned for the day.
There is a free outdoor concert from 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. featuring the Maureen Washington quintet.
Enjoy the sounds of jazz, funk, rhythm and blues and pop performed by an all-star ensemble starring Washington.
One of the artisans participating in the event is Ruth Chantrell (formerly Lafontaine).
She recently moved into the lower level of TOSH where she has been creating beautiful pieces of jewellery in her metalsmithing shop since May 1.
The public can drop by during the day to see the jewellery maker in action.
Four years of formal jewelry and metalsmith training from The Alberta College of Art & Design in Calgary, plus numerous workshops, have provided Chantrell with an extensive background in metal fabrication techniques.
She said she has been creative most of her life.
“As a child I was obsessed with paper doll making. When you got that box of 64 crayons that was the best thing. I like to pound things but we were not allowed to use my dads tools,” she said.
Chantrell’s jewellery designs are inspired by nature, poetry, ancient art forms and various cultural artistic traditions.
Her sterling silver pieces embellished with gemstones have won numerous awards and her work can be found in jewelry boxes world wide. Chantrell said she enjoys using unusual stones and her favourites are labradorite and prehnite.
“A lot of people will come in and comment that my work is delicate. I don’t really do a lot of big chunky things. I believe as you get more confident and more experienced as an artist that changes. I can already see myself wanting to do bigger and bolder things. I have a huge journal of ideas and I am always wanting to do new things. It just comes with confidence.”
She is excited to be part of the Art in Action Art Fair and invites the public to come inside TOSH to cool off and watch her create.