The 2012 Art Walk officially begins Tuesday and has grown substantially over last year.
Art Walk committee chair Willie Dye says 46 artists and 46 merchants are participating this year compared to 34 merchants and 35 artists last year.
“The response has been quite spectacular for the merchants,” Dye says. “I think we have 14 new merchants who didn’t participate last year. We also have 18 new artists.”
Among the new artists are a leather worker, a blacksmith, a videographer, quilters, a sculptor, and a group of seven women from 150 Mile House who carve wood.
There is also a portrait painter from England, who is so new to the community that he was able to participate in the Art Walk but not in time to be listed in the Art Walk booklet, Dye says. He says this artists work will be shown at TD Canada Trust with indicator signs out front.
Dye says the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin is also participating in the Art Walk this year. He says many people may not realize it but the museum has work on display by at least 15 different artists from around the region including the late Sonia Cornwall and her mother Vivian Cowan.
Painter Harvey Overton, who shares his time between Australia and the Cariboo, will also be participating this year, Dye says.
Among the many artists returning to the Art Walk will be potters, fabric artists, artists who work in water colours and oils and line drawing and more.
“Participation is up quite a bit from last year,” Dye says. “I think its wonderful.”
He is hoping that people will not only stop by the participating businesses to see what the artists have to offer but make an investment in some of the art as well.
“Its good exposure for the artists but its also nice for them to sell some their work on the walk,” Dye says.
Dye says some of the artists will be selling some of their pieces by silent auction with an upset price.
The Art Walk runs Aug. 7 to Sept. 8 with several special events planned for Thursdays.
On Thursday, Aug. 9 a two-hour grand opening guided walk for the public will start at noon from Sears, Dye says.
“We will start at number 1 (Sears) and follow the numbers,” Dye says. “We will visit as many artists and merchants as possible in the two hours.”
He says singer and musician Harry Jennings will perform before the walk begins with special guests Mayor Kerry Cook and interpreter Mary Forbes. One lucky participant on this walk will win a $50 gift certificate to spend at a participating business.
On Thursday, Aug. 16 the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre will hold a fundraising event and exhibit with art work by children in Spirit Square. There will be a children’s art exhibit and silent auction from 11 a.m. to noon followed by a barbecue and entertainment from noon to 1 p.m., then children’s art activities from 1 to 2 p.m.
On Thursday, Aug. 23 Dye says artists will be on the walk practicing their crafts.
Thursday, Sept. 6 is Dress Up Day where merchants and artists are invited to dress like Mary Forbes. Forbes is known for her eclectic period costumes featuring styles popular in many different eras.
Dye notes that the special Art Walk Thursdays coincide with the evening Performances in the Park musical series scheduled through the summer in Boitanio Park.
During Art Walk buskers will also be playing music on various street corners and in Spirit Square at various times.
“We are hoping to expand upon the number of people coming out to play instruments and sing for us as buskers this year,” Dye says.
Musicians who would like to try busking are asked to call co-ordinators Rita Law or Judy O’Neill at 250-398-5717.
A total of 25,000 passports have been created for the free Art Walk and are being delivered to homes in the area.
Each of the 45 merchants features a draw for a fabulous prize.
Those who have their passports stamped at 40 of the 45 participating merchants are also eligible for the grand prize draw for the $300 first prize; $200 second prize or $100 third prize certificate to be used at any of the participating merchants.
Completed passports can be dropped off at any of the participating businesses by the entry deadline at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Participants are also asked to vote for their favourite artists and merchants.
Art Walk also promotes the Heritage Walk 2012 with information on heritage and special buildings including the NewWorld Cafe, Central Cariboo Arts Centre, Woodland Jewellers, Laketown Furnishings, Station House Gallery, Delainey’s Centre, The Potato House, and Cariboo Saddle Shop.
The Art Walk booklet also introduces the Alley Art Project being led by artist Dwayne Davis who is mentoring two students in the mural craft while creating two new murals for the city.
The booklet also highlights various cultural walks and sculptural art that can be seen around the city. Some of these large sculptural pieces include the Rick Hansen tribute at the Tourism Discovery Centre, which also boasts a unique sculpture of a car loaded high with recreational equipment inside the building. Other wood sculptures to be seen include a large bear, a galloping cowboy, standing cowboy, bronc rider, and tall clocks.