The grand opening party for the 2019 Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk was a bright and colourful success for artists and artwalkers alike.
Held in the Gibraltar Room on Wednesday, Aug. 14 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. the event was designed to celebrate not only the 40 artists and 40 businesses taking part in Art Walk this year, but also the community that has supported this event for years.
The grand opening party is the latest of a long line of new additions and enhancements added to Art Walk’s winning formula by Downtown Williams Lake events co-ordinator Jasmine Alexander and the rest of the BIA’s team.
With catering for the night done by Mint and Lime Catering Co. and a series of activities throughout the room for children and adults to take part in, the mood of the night was a festive one. People filtered around and talked with one another be they artists, art walk enthusiasts or just regular lakecity citizens out for a night of entertainment.
The highlight of the night, however, was when six lakecity artists, most involved in the art walk, took to centre stage to take part in a paint battle. All of them were given 45 minutes to create a complete painting based off of the theme of celebration. The crowd was delighted to see such artistic prowesses on display and watched the progress eagerly as blank canvasses became six stunning works, later sold to the highest bidders in a silent auction.
Alexander, who organized the night and this year’s artist lineup, was ecstatic to see so many smiling faces attend the opening. She said she felt the event was a success with “flying colours” and was especially thrilled to see so many people come out to support local artists. At a rough estimate, Alexander said they capped capacity of the night at around 130 to 150 people.
“I would say this night is definitely a success, there are always things to build on for next year but it was such a group effort to pull this off. I definitely want to give a shout out to the live paint battle artists, as well as everyone who supported the event,” Alexander said. “I hope the momentum from this night carries over into our three weeks of Art Walk this year.”
Art Walk officially begins on Friday, Aug. 16 and runs into September. Alexander hopes the entire community participates by visiting all the venues. Art, to her, can sometimes change the way we see the world and our surroundings and the Art Walk is a fun way to do that with friends and family. In addition, the prize for submitting passports this year is a creative Cariboo gift basket valued at $500, Alexander said.
She also wanted to thank Zach Kliesinger and his band, who came up from Vancouver, for providing musical ambience throughout the evening.
One of the six artists who took part in the paint fight, Steven Davis-Gosling, hadn’t even been scheduled to take part initially.
Davis-Gosling said he was attending the grand opening to support his father, local muralist Dwayne Davis, a fellow paint fight contestant and featured art walk artist, when he learned the person scheduled to compete was unable to attend. Davis-Gosling finds the whole concept of a timed paint fight super exciting and eagerly jumped into the event.
His experience working with his father on public art like the various murals and statues in town made him comfortable painting in front of others, so much so that he began dancing as he painted. Davis-Gosling said that when painting in an environment like that, you need to move past the idea of being good or bad. It is there, he said, that you find the space and room to just create and have fun.
“This (grand opening) was really good. The showing, the people around here, the food was really good, the decor was awesome . I hope (the paint fight) becomes an annual or even biannual or even four times a year event. I’m down to keep coming to these things either by performing or watching, it’s just a fun time,” Davis-Gosling said.
Davis-Gosling views Art Walk as a great way to become more connected with both the business and artistic community and encourages everyone to come out and take part.
Besides, as he observed with a grin, what else are you doing on the weekends?