Art lovers enjoy the closing night gala for the 2017 Salt Spring National Art Prize, at Mahon Hall in Ganges. The juried selections for the second edition of this nationwide competition are on exhibit now through Oct. 21. Courtesy Salt Spring Arts Council

TESS VAN STRAATEN: Tess takes an autumn art adventure

Salt Spring National Art Prize attracts top-notch artists from across the country

By Tess van Straaten

Monday Magazine columnist

It’s a crisp, early autumn morning and I’m waiting to board the ferry to Salt Spring Island for its famous Saturday market. Rain or shine, the popular market runs until the end of October, and in addition to all organic produce, farmstead cheese and delicious food offerings, it’s a Mecca for hand-crafted artisan goods from Canada’s ‘Island of the Arts.’

Monday columnist Tess van Straaten

“The artisan community is very important and one of the defining factors of the culture of the island,” says Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce executive director Jessica Harkema. “What always surprises people is the multitude and variety of talented people here.”

One of those people is artist Ron Crawford, who’s been painting for 45 years. Four years ago, Crawford launched the Salt Spring National Art Prize, which is held every two years and has grown to become one of the largest visual arts competitions in the country.

“It’s really fun to have seen it grow,” he says. “I thought it would take some time, but it’s just exploded across the country and we’ve just had a huge response this year with artists from every province and territory submitting.”

Close to 1,200 Canadian artists entered and 52 were chosen to display their work at the 2019 exhibition, put on by the Salt Spring Arts Council and running now through Oct. 21.

“As an artist myself, I think it’s really important for us to see the best of Canadian art and give artists an opportunity to show their work and compete at such a high level,” Crawford says. “We’re out here on the West Coast and we don’t get to see this kind of art very often. It’s national art. It really reflects the diversity of Canadian culture.”

Five of the artists selected by a national jury are from Salt Spring, with another five from Vancouver Island, which Crawford says shows the calibre of work being done here.

“In the jury process for SSNAP, they don’t know the artists’ names, so to have so many from here, and three from Duncan alone, is quite remarkable.”

Close to 900 people attended the 2017 exhibit and 1,500 are expected this time. But it’s not the only reason to make the trip to Salt Spring this fall. Sip & Savour Salt Spring is back for its eighth year on Oct. 19.

“It’s a great event, because it showcases all that Salt Spring and the region has to offer – live music, farm fresh produce, delicious eats, creative and unique drinks and a whole lot of fun,” Harkema says.

New vendors this year include local caterer Salty Hospitality, Salt Spring Pie Co., Switchboard Café and Four Winds Brewery. And whether you go for a day trip or weekend getaway, don’t forget to check out some artists’ studios for an art-filled autumn.

Find more information on these events at saltspringartprize.ca and saltspringchamber.com/sip-savour-salt-spring.

Also by this author:

TESS VAN STRAATEN: Chilling in Cook Street Village

TESS VAN STRAATEN: Brentwood Bay bliss awaits

TESS VAN STRAATEN: Marine magic at play in James Bay



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Tess van Straatentravel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

B.C. wines pair nicely with locally sourced cuisine during the annual Sip & Savour event, happening Oct. 19 on Salt Spring Island. Courtesy Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce

Just Posted

COVID Creations opens at the Art Gallery

Rental and sales exhibition features works by 34 local artists

Daniel Lapp’s West Coast Kitchen Party

Join BC’s highly renowned fiddler and folk artist Daniel Lapp for a… Continue reading

Emily Carr show wraps up Canadian Tour at Royal BC Museum

Fresh Seeing opens with exclusive addition of T’anuu

Antimatter festival adapts

Hybrid model brings 100 films

Nanaimo-based ceramic artist Joe Lyons is presenting his first solo exhibition, ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction,’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts from Oct. 26 to Nov. 12. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-based ceramic artist showcases variety of bottles in first solo show

Joe Lyons presents ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Toronto poet Robert Priest is presenting an online reading on Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy Allen Booth)
Nanaimo spoken word society presents online reading by prolific Toronto poet

Robert Priest to dip into 40-year catalogue for upcoming Zoom reading

Nanaimo singer Elise Boulanger releases her new single, ‘Cigarettes et rosé’ on Oct. 11. (Photo courtesy Laura Baldwinson)
Nanaimo singer releasing new single inspired by overheard conversations

Elise Boulanger to unveil ‘Cigarettes et rosé,’ accompanying ukulele tutorial video to come

Lee Porteous will be one of the performers at the Duncan Showroom’s storytelling event later this month. (Photo Submitted)
Duncan Showroom hosts storytellers series

Monthly shows will be broadcast live on YouTube

The 2020 City of Victoria Youth Poet Laureate Neko Smart will give up her seat for the next young poet in January. (Contributed/ Jeremy Loveday)
Nominations open for Victoria’s 2021 Youth Poet Laureate

Honourary one-year term reserved for region’s emerging poets

Joëlle Rabu and Nico Rhodes present No Regrets, a live-streamed and in-person show featuring the songs of French singer Édith Piaf at the Port Theatre on Oct. 17. (Photo courtesy Vital Image)
Nanaimo mother-son duo pay tribute to Édith Piaf in Nanaimo

Vocalist Joëlle Rabu and pianist and arranger Nico Rhodes present ‘No Regrets’ show Oct. 17

Local poets Ian Cognito and Pat Smekal are releasing their latest collection, ‘Old Bones and Battered Bookends.’ (Photo courtesy Literacy Central Vancouver Island/Image by Jacques Gamelin)
Nanaimo area poets release anthology on aging

Ian Cognito and Pat Smekal present ‘Old Bones and Battered Bookends’

The Arts Alive sculpture Winds of Time by Linda Lindsay which sat in front of the Pharmasave on Oak Bay Avenue in 2019 has been purchased anonymously and will be mounted in the King George Terrace parking lot. (Photo from OakBay.ca)
Winds of Time breezes onto Oak Bay lookout

Donor bought Arts Alive sculpture for Oak Bay lookout

Most Read