The 2011 Art Walk and Sale kicks off this Friday with two guided art walk tours with City interpreter Mary Forbes.
Mayor Kerry Cook will also be there for the inaugural walk, says art walk committee chair Willie Dye. The first guided walk will start at noon from Lake City Ford and visit as many businesses as possible until the second guided walk begins at 3 p.m. starting from Sears.
During each of the two guided walks, he says participants will also have the opportunity to put their names in for a draw prize of $50. for a total of $100 in prize money.
“Participants have a chance to earn some money and maybe buy a favorite piece of art with their winnings,” Dye says.
There are 35 businesses and 35 artists participating in the art walk this year along with musicians who have been lined up to play on street corners and community venues during the month long art walk.
“We are really excited about bringing art and music to downtown Williams Lake,” Dye says.
Several changes in the art walk have been made this year to reach a wider audience, Dye says.
For starters the event has a new name 2011 Art Walk and Sale.
“We are really promoting the sale part of the walk this year,” Dye says. “We just want to remind people that most of the art you will see on the art walk is for sale.”
The featured artist this year is the late Sonia Cornwall whose work will be hung at the Williams Lake and District Credit Union, Dye says. In efforts to encourage more participation art walk is also completely free this year and the time to complete the walk has been extended by a full week running from Friday, Aug. 5 to Friday, Sept. 9.
In past years there was a fee to purchase the art walk passport book but this year the passport books are free, Dye says.
And instead of only issuing 300 passports as was done in other years, Dye says 25,000 free passport books will be distributed in Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, Quesnel, Clinton, Bella Coola, and Horsefly/Likely.
In addition to participating merchants, passport booklets in Williams Lake will also be available at the Tourism Discovery Centre and Signal Point Gaming.
“We are looking at it as more of a tourism event to bring travellers and people from the surrounding areas into the downtown core of the city,” Dye says.
Instead of getting stamps at all of the participating businesses to qualify for the grand prize, he notes participants this year will need stamps from only 30 of the 36 participating businesses to qualify for the grand prize.
The grand prize this year is a pair of Canadian diamond earrings from Woodland Jewellers valued at about $800, notes Dye.
Each of the 35 participating businesses will also have individual prize draws.
All of the prize draws will take place on the final day of the art walk on Sept. 9.
During the walk participants are encouraged to keep their three favourite artists and three favourite businesses in mind. The passport provides a space for participants to vote for their three favourite businesses and three favourite artist who will receive People’s Choice Awards.
In selecting your favourite business keep in mind service, hospitality and appearance.
Dye says some street musicians have been lined up to entertain during art walk month and more musicians are invited to participate by signing up at the WLCBIA office at the corner of Third and Oliver Street.
Art walk is a project of the Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Area and the Station House Gallery and Gift Shop Society.
“The art walk is a great way to spend time in Williams Lake getting to know the merchants and what they have to offer and meeting new people, you also see some great art work and you get a fabulous workout to boot, but best of all you get to enter for an amazing pair of diamond ear rings,” says WLCBIA president Sheila Mortensen in her welcome address in the art walk passport booklet.
In her address, Station House Gallery president Bev Pemberton says the Station House Gallery Society celebrates 30 years of service to the community as Williams Lake’s public art gallery and is proud to be part of the 2011 Art Walk and Sale.
“A well-rounded community is one that embraces arts and culture and art walks are one of the best ways to promote arts, artists, local business and our community,” Pemberton says.
Completed passports should be dropped off at Western Financial Group, Lake City Glass, Rona or Laketown Furnishings.