As the 2019 Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk quickly approaches, Downtown Williams Lake is preparing to welcome it with a new kick-off party, an adjudicated art show and a brand new guide book available at over 40 lakecity locations.
Downtown Williams Lake’s event co-ordinator, Jasmine Alexander, has been spearheading the organization of Art Walk this year. With under a week before their Art Walk Grand Opening party on Wednesday, Aug. 14 and just over a week until the Art Walk officially begins on Aug. 17, things have been busy around the office meeting artists, seeing their work and helping them install them in businesses throughout the downtown.
Alexander praised her team of volunteers and employees of Downtown Williams Lake for helping her get everything organized. Many things, like the guide book, party and the like were all team efforts, she said.
This year Art Walk boasts exactly 40 artists and participating businesses, which Alexander said is about on par compared to previous years. In addition to a wide range of local artists, she’s said she’s also happy to see group submissions like ones from the Esk’etemec Artists Group, Interpretations Artist Collective and Luxarose Apparel.
“Forty is a great amount because it means that the art walkers can actually go and see every single one, it’s not too many and it’s not too little,” Alexander said.
By her rough estimate, there are over 250 pieces of art to see throughout the downtown during Art Walk this year. This includes paintings, drawings, pottery, felt works and more, Alexander said.
Many of this year’s pieces, she said, focus on the Cariboo landscape many in Williams Lake love and she said it’s interesting to see them find ways to reinvent familiar sights. There’s also a heavy emphasis on abstracted and expressionistic work she feels will help encourage people to stop and think about the pieces.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the way the people in Williams Lake really love this event and ultimately want to see it succeed. I think that is a really encouraging thing as a co-ordinator to see people love the event we’re hosting,” Alexander said. “It’s a very dynamic event. I’d love to see it evolve in future years but it’s been really fun.”
The adjudicated artwork stream, now known as the Showcase Exhibit, is a new addition this year and will be hosted at Mint and Lime Catering and will consist of the works of 11 artists. Alexander said it gives artists the chance to get critical and constructive feedback on their work.
The exhibit’s hours will be posted on Downtown Williams Lake’s Facebook page based on the hours of the host location. Along with the art, Alexander said Mint and Lime plans to offer free food and drink tastings to go with each show.
To kick everything off, Downtown Williams Lake is hosting the Art Walk Grand Opening party on Aug. 14 at the Gibraltar Room from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. that Alexander said they’re all really excited about, sponsored by the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society. Tickets for this event are $20 for adults and $5 for children that covers “incredible catering” from Mint and Lime, Alexander said, and a performance by Zach Kleisinger and his band.
There will also be events for all ages to take in including a ‘paint battle’ between a group of Art Walk artists who will be challenged to paint a complete piece based off a theme in under 45 minutes, Alexander said. The crowd will then get to vote on which is their favourite and later bid on all the pieces that are produced.
The Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake and District and Miss Whitespider will also be providing activities and entertainment for children. Tickets are still available and will be sold at the door with a capacity of about 150, roughly a third of which have been sold as of the writing of this article.
“We really want people to know this isn’t just a party for people that are involved in Art Walk, it’s for everybody,” Alexander said.
Another one of the new things added to Art Walk this year is a full-colour guidebook with activities for children, like a colouring page and a scavenger hunt sponsored by Kit and Kaboodle, contained within. In addition, there is a complete map of the Art Walk route in the centre of the booklet for easy accesses when touring downtown.
This year the guide book will be available in all 40 of the participating businesses, for practical easy access for art walkers. They can also be found at The Realm of Toys, the Cariboo Regional District Library, the Station House Gallery, Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex and Downtown Williams Lake office. Thanks to their bright and cheerful design this year, Alexander said you can’t miss them.
On the back of the guide is this year’s passport, for those looking to collect stamps from each location, with 22 stamps counting as one entry into the draw for a Downtown Williams Lake package valued at $500, with 40 equaling two entries.
“People can choose to interact with Art Walk however they want. If they just want to go out and see some beautiful and thought-provoking artwork they can do that if they really want to get in and get their passports stamped they can do that too, there’s something for everybody,” Alexander said.
“I think that arts and culture reflect the heartbeat of a community, I think it connects us all together and reflects how people are feeling and what they area thinking about in the community.”