Hundreds of the finest works by west coast island artists go on display this week at the 28th annual Sooke Fine Arts Show, at the SEAPARC Leisure Complex in Sooke, in what promises to be one of the summer’s most dramatic art events. More than 8000 visitors attend the celebrated art show and sale each year, produced by the Sooke Fine Arts Society, a registered charity which aims to promote the region’s arts and make them accessible to a wide public audience.
From a delicately carved ostrich egg to a one-tonne forged iron gate, sensitively-sketched portraits to bold palette knife landscapes, the collection of nearly 400 works of art is at once muscular and delicate, visceral and subtle, highlighting the diverse talents nestled among BC’s coastal islands.
The work was carefully chosen from nearly 1500 submissions by a panel of three jurors, including Michelle Jacques, chief curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Jeremy Herndl, painter and instructor at the Vancouver Island School of Art; and Celia Duthie, owner of Salt Spring Island’s Duthie Gallery with husband Nick Hunt.
“We were so pleased to see works by many emerging artists, as well as many of the region’s more established artists, selected by this year’s jurors,” says Executive Director Catherine Keogan. “Last year brought an influx of fresh styles and perspectives underpinned by a high technical calibre, and this year takes the trend to another level – it’s a truly exciting body of work.”
The Purchaser’s Preview evening on July 24th offers a sneak preview of the show to ardent art lovers, and first chance at adding coveted pieces to private and commercial collections. The show opens to the public on Friday, July 25th, with daily artist demonstrations and talks, live music and activities in addition to 16,000 square feet of art.
Special events throughout the show include the popular Artz4Kidz day (July 29, 2-4pm), featuring live musical performances by and a variety of activities for kids under 12, followed by youth performances organized by the Sooke Youth Council from 4-7pm. The show also features a special Youth Art Gallery section, featuring nearly 100 works by local secondary students.
Seniors are also treated to two afternoon teas (July 30th and 31st 2-4pm) served in fine china with scones in the gallery for a unique twist on a friendly social gathering.
The Taste of Sooke evening (July 31st, 7-10pm) at the gallery features samplings by local restaurants, cafes, bakeries and even a meadery, set to the sounds of quirky indie folk band West My Friend.
The temporary gallery, set inside a hockey arena, is constructed and operated by some 300 volunteers, who dedicate upward of 10,000 hours into building and designing the gallery to exacting standards.
“The Sooke Show is so beautifully displayed and organized, all by an army of volunteers,” says artist Judy McLaren, winner of the 2013 Best 2D award. “The care that goes into mounting the show and the lighting and placing of every piece makes artists feel honoured to be there.
“It is a true celebration of the importance of art in our lives.”
The show remains open to the public through Monday August 4th. For more information on hours, admission rates, special events and tickets, visit www.sookefinearts.com.
About the Sooke Fine Arts Society
The Sooke Fine Arts Society is a non-profit organization created to encourage and promote a greater understanding and appreciation for the arts, as well as hosting public learning opportunities for all ages of artistic techniques and expertise. Formed in 2006, the Society carries on the tradition of the annual Sooke Fine Arts Show, as well as smaller exhibitions, workshops, collaborations and public engagement opportunities.