Though the exhibit doors of the Sooke Fine Arts Show are physically closed, an entirely new world has opened up for virtual visitors in its 34th year.
The annual event that usually draws more than 9,000 art lovers has moved online for its show, which runs from July 24 to Aug. 3.
“It was a major challenge for us to adapt online, but the community has been a wonderful support to our situation,” said Terrie Moore, executive director of the show.
“We usually have over 300 volunteers take time out of their day, and while we didn’t need that many this year, there were still so many people willing to help however they could.”
Moore said they were able to avoid getting painted into a corner by the quick-thinking of her team.
The members of the art show were able to keep their event alive by taking photos of each artwork and posting it to their website for perusal. Their speaker series has been kept alive by using Zoom to host. Also, they’ve accommodated for the missing ambiance of live music with full-length songs recorded and sent in by local musicians.
Moore pointed out that one silver lining of the art show going virtual has been the broader reach the website has garnered. In the past week, they’ve sold pieces to customers in Alberta, Ontario, and even in the United States. Last year, they shipped artwork to customers in Germany and England.
The Sooke exhibit, at 2168 Phillips Rd., acts as one of three locations across southern Vancouver Island where local buyers can pick up their art pieces. They’ve made arrangements with art exhibits in downtown Victoria and Duncan to be pick up centres as well.
Though the virtual show is set to end on Aug. 3, art fanatics can continue to shop to their heart’s content until Sept. 30.
Now, Moore is looking forward to the announcement of the 2020 People’s Choice Award, with a highly-contested $500 prize, set to be announced on Aug. 7.
Those interested in voting for the award have until Aug. 3 at 5 p.m. to select their favourite piece.
You can view the entire virtual collection of the 2020 Sooke Fine Arts Show for free at sookefinearts.com/main-gallery.