Art has always been a pure connection with culture, community, life, and earthly elements. Making those connections is the creative intention of artists from Vancouver Island and BC’s coastal islands, and their inspirational artworks are on view this summer, as always, at the annual Sooke Fine Arts Show. Like every summer, this year’s Fine Arts Show offers an exquisitely curated gallery of art pieces from a broad selection of island artists; from internationally renowned glass artist Bob Leatherbarrow from Saltspring Island and Victoria’s Richard Hunt, one of Canada’s premiere Native (Kwaguilth [Kwakiutl]) artists to local Sooke artist Rob Owen, who has been accepted into every show since its inception in 1986. But unlike every summer, this year’s Sooke Fine Arts Show and its gallery of artworks will be online!
Sooke Fine Arts Society (SFAS) Executive Director Terrie Moore and her team have embraced the new opportunities that a Covid-19 reset presents and they are busy creating a virtual art experience for an expanded online audience that will showcase over 375+ juried works of painting, sculpture, fibre arts, glass and ceramics, jewellery, and photography in a virtual format.
To make the online Sooke Fine Arts Show experience as engaging and inspiring as the physical show, key features like the main gallery, online auction, Seniors’ Tea, Artz4Kidz, People’s Choice Award, and Youth Art Gallery will now have interactive and sometimes live elements and areas to explore in the show’s new web portal at sookefinearts.com. Other highlights of the show, like artist demos and music, will be recreated with video and live virtual performances.
The popular Purchasers’ Preview Night, this year on July 23, will invite viewers to buy tickets for early access to view and purchase their favourite artworks from artists like Leatherbarrow, Owen, and others. Local Sooke chef Pat Hogan of 4 Beaches Catering, who has catered the event for the past five years, has even created a special ‘Grazing Box’ of cheeses, charcuterie, and seafood that viewers can pick up and enjoy with a bottle of wine while they “attend” the online evening event at home.
The decision to move the intimate and highly interactive show from Sooke’s SEAPARC arena to an online gallery was not an easy one, says Moore.
“Our priority is the well-being of our volunteers, artists, and our guests with respect to Covid-19 concerns. We’ll miss the excitement of working together on the physical show, but we’re excited about the opportunities this year’s online show presents and we look forward to returning to a physical show next year for our 35th anniversary!” says Moore.
At a time when art can provide much-needed inspiration and introspection, the online Sooke Fine Arts Show is an inclusive venue for exploring what has always been the pinnacle of creative expression from island artists.
As Mo Willems says, “Science will get us out of this, but art will get us through this.”
The Sooke Fine Arts Show can be experienced at www.sookefinearts.com from July 24 to August 3, with sales continuing through Sept 30.