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Artists stick to square canvases only in Gabriola exhibition

More than 110 works on display in ‘Squared – The Art Show ‘
Among the more than 100 works on display in Squared – The Art Show are ‘Hummingbirds among Flowers’ by Colleen Marana, ‘On its way out’ by Stephen Cole, ‘Somebody Loves You’ by Sandra Bowers, ‘I Cea You 2’ by Dar Mace, ‘Scrapling Rising’ by Laurie and Chris Jacobson and ‘Labyrinth’ by Rita Blom (clockwise from top-left). (Photos courtesy the artists)

More than 90 artists representing a variety of disciplines are showing what they can do when faced with limitations.

Squared – The Art Show, the biennial exhibition that sees artists produce works on a 12-by-12-inch canvas, returns to the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre from Feb. 26 to 28. Half-hour viewing appointments must be made in advance, with six masked people allowed at a time, entering through one door and exiting through another.

All sales will be done online or over the phone and organizer Gwen Spinks is expecting it to be just as hectic as previous years.

“I know it’s going to be the same insanity as all the other years, it’s just going to be on the phone and on the website so it’s going to be interesting,” she said. “Every year, because we have a huge pile of people just run in and trying to buy things, I always have somebody who didn’t get what they want and is unhappy and I’m expecting no different this year.”

This year the exhibition is touring for the first time. From March 5 to 29 the show will be on display at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville. Sold pieces will not be in the show, however, and Spinks will be showing her own work as well.

The show features youth artists including, for the first time, a six-year-old. Spinks said being in the show teaches young artists about the business side of creating and selling art, something she says isn’t covered in school. She said the show also helps form a community of future artists.

“[They] get to see their work hang next to other artists and it starts to create a community because these are all Gabriola kids,” Spinks said. “So now you start to have a community of a whole new generation.”

Spinks said she’s “thrilled” with the range of art forms in the exhibition. There are more than 110 pieces in the show, including paintings, metal work, glass work, wood work and textile art. Although there are changes this year due to COVID-19, Spinks said she’s proud of everyone involved for being flexible and finding solutions.

“We’re so adaptable, it’s just wonderful,” she said. “I know that I’ve talked to a few artists that have really struggled this year with being creative. It’s been a hard year so they’ve come up with some amazing stuff.”

WHAT’S ON … Squared – The Art Show comes to the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre, 476 South Rd., on Feb. 26 from 4 to 8 p.m., Feb. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 250-247-9756 to book a viewing. For more information, click here.

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