The Sooke Fine Arts Show is one of the community’s most well-known events, annually drawing upwards of 9,000 art lovers from across Canada, the U.S. and beyond to SEAPARC arena where 380 artists will display their work in the region’s only juried art show.
But the show wouldn’t happen without the help of scores of volunteers.
“We need help for a whole range of activities, starting on July 6 and 7 when we start our set up period,” said Terri Moore, the executive director of the Sooke Fine Arts Society.
“And while those first two days are important, the need for that help continues right up to July 25, the day before the show opens and continues after the show when we have to take it all down.”
The work involves everything from securing and attaching display pods and arena fabrics to assembling and installing perimeter lighting. Even folks who are willing to cook for the other volunteers are needed as preparing for the show can be hungry work.
During the show, volunteers are needed to be hosts, bartenders, security and more.
“We’re really hoping to attract new people to volunteer at the show as some of the tasks can be physically challenging,” said Moore.
“As well, it’s a chance for people to get to know their neighbours and to become a part of the community. That’s a common experience for volunteers and especially true of our show.”
That was certainly the case for Gunny Tennese.
In 2017 she attended the show as a newcomer to Sooke and said that she was absolutely gob-smacked at the quality of the event and was determined to become a part of it.
The following year she volunteered and the experience was everything for which she had hoped.
“As a newcomer, volunteering with the Sooke Fine Arts Show made me feel a part of the community. I met 300 new people in a month and I gained a community. After two years here (in Sooke), I finally felt I belonged,” said Tennese.
She added that, now, no matter where she goes in Sooke, she will is constantly meet people she knows.
This year, Tennese is has taken on the job of volunteer coordinator for the show and is working hard to fill all the shifts required to host the show.
Anyone wishing to volunteer with the show can contact Tennese at 250-588-5852 or simply go to the organization’s website at sookefinearts.com/volunteering-for-the-sooke-fine-arts-show.
The show takes place from July 26 to Aug. 5.