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ART VICTORIA NOW! returns for the first time in 6 years

Victoria Arts Council’s popular juried exhibition and awards returns May 11-31 at The Bay Centre
Victoria Art Council’s popular exhibition, ART VICTORIA NOW! returns after a long hiatus to The Bay Centre May 11-31. (Courtesy Kegan McFadden)

If you’re looking to see some of the best artistic talent in this city, plus love the thrill of a juried competition, then you’ll be happy to know that the much-loved exhibition, ART VICTORIA NOW! is back.

“We’re really excited because we haven’t done this show in about six years,” said Kegan McFadden, executive director of Victoria Arts Council, organizers of the juried exhibition.

The last ART VICTORIA NOW! show was in 2018 and was put on pause when the Victoria Arts Council opened up a new gallery.

“I think that was the fifth year running. It’s really, really popular,” McFadden said.

The exhibit runs from May 11-31 at The Bay Centre (lower level) and culminates in an awards ceremony and community celebration on Saturday, May 25 from 2-5 p.m. It’s all about recognizing the best in local art with awards; only 50 talented artists are selected to exhibit by the jury. The assessors look for skillfully executed and unique creations in various mediums.

While McFadden said they’re hearing from artists they’ve worked with in the past, the emphasis for the show is really on what’s new.

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The last ART VICTORIA NOW! was in 2018. (Courtesy Kegan McFadden)

“The whole point of the show is talking about what’s happening now,” McFadden added. “I think what’s so exciting about ART VICTORIA NOW! is that it’s happening really fast. You can make a painting this month and show it next month. And that is almost unheard of in the art world. Usually it takes so long to get an exhibition and to find a gallery that will show your work so the Victoria Arts Council is really trying to work with artists in the community to support them. And that’s an exciting thing for the audience as well.”

The show’s three external assessors are big names in the local community: Rick Leong, a professional artist and professor of fine arts at UVic, Sue Donaldson, an independent curator and retired BC Arts Council Officer, and Joe Bembridge, the owner of Gallery Merrick.

“That’s really exciting for local artists to have the opportunity to show their work to someone that could sell it in the future,” McFadden said. “It’s a big opportunity for people.”

The deadline to apply for artists is April 30. Artists ages 11 and up are encouraged to apply.

And for those who plan to attend the exhibit, who knows? Maybe you’ll see the next big household name at the start of their career.

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