The excitement and anticipation is building as Vancouver Island’s Premier Arts Event, the Sooke Fine Arts Show, prepares to open the doors to over 8,000 visitors on its 31st anniversary.
Jurors, Richard Hunt, Carol Koebbeman and Jock Hildebrand, all professional and multi-media artists themselves, reviewed 1300 artworks and chose 375 to be displayed in the show. More than $12,000 in awards will be presented to artists whose work has struck the three jurors as being stunningly original, technically advanced and/or visually impactful. 251 artists are vying for the awards, including 44 from Sooke who qualify for the District of Sooke award, which will be presented to one talented Sooke artist on July 29th at the Artist’s Celebration Evening.
Purchasers Preview Night is a gala event on July 27 that will allow arts patrons a first preview of the gallery and the artwork a day before the show opens to the public. Tickets are sold in advance and at the door and are in high demand with local attendees and those travelling from the North Island, Oak Bay, and further afar. This advance showing allows serious art collectors to add to their home and gallery collections. Competition for some of the winning pieces and for the work of established and emerging artists is always strong.
“Last year there were 2 attendees who each purchased five paintings or more that were shipped off to eastern Canada and California at the end of the show,” said Marion DesRochers, Art Sales volunteer.
This Purchase Preview event is also highly attended by arts patrons who are looking for a stylish evening of art, live jazz music, refreshments and food in a beautiful transformative setting.
“I like to come out to see the art and how the show changes from year to year,” said repeat attendee and volunteer, Sandy Jarvis. “It’s wonderful to see what the new artists bring to the show and to view the world through their eyes.”
In addition to art prizes, scholarships will be awarded to two worthy students, several of whom applied from Edward Milne Community School, Royal Bay and Belmont secondary schools. The winners this year are Leann Li from Belmont, and Serena Laur from Edward Milne. The Vern Moore Memorial Award is another youth prize, awarded this year to Irina Karassev, a student who has selflessly volunteered with the Sooke Fine Arts show in a number of roles every summer since she was 12 years old. The award is in memory of Vern Moore, a dedicated volunteer, supporter and patron of the Sooke Fine Arts Show for close to 30 years.
This year, 2017, marks the last year that Museum Designer Alan Graves will be working with the show as an exhibition designer, so his lessons in “dressing” the show have been transferred to the long-standing show Design Team. “This year’s show stands out for the large number of works displaying very high technical skill and craftsmanship,” said the professional designer.
The show opens to the public on July 28, and will feature daily artist talks, demonstrations, and live music to entertain guests as they stroll through 16,000 square feet of sometimes powerfully emotive art. There will be special events for children, youth and seniors, as well as the newly expanded Youth Art Gallery.
There’s no need to go to Europe to see art this year. The Sooke Fine Arts Show can give a shot of arts and culture in your own back yard from July 28 to August 7. Details on daily offerings can be found on the website.