Activity at SEAPARC arena is at a fever pitch as volunteers race to transform the sporting venue into a fantasy land of art for the 33rd annual Sooke Fine Arts Show.
The show runs from July 26 to Aug. 5 and features 375 works of art.
“We have a lot more large pieces and a lot more sculpture this year,” said Terri Moore, the executive director of the Sooke Fine Arts Society.
“It’s a very colourful show, and we have a lot more contemporary pieces than we’ve had for a while.”
As a juried show, the selections for display are carefully selected by a trio of judges.
This year’s judges are Grant Arnold, the winner of the prestigious Alvin Balkind Curator’s Prize; Pennylane Shen, a former Canadian representative for the University of the Arts London in the UK; and Richard Motchman, the president of the Xchanges Gallery in Victoria.
“The judges were here on [July 15], and made their selections for the winners of this year’s prizes,” Moore said.
“They noted that this year there are some whimsical touches … some great sense of humour on display. I know people who come to the show will be very pleased.”
Beyond the displays of talent at the show, attendees will be treated to a special night on Aug. 1, when in conjunction with the night market at the Sooke Region Museum, the show will offer m-ART-ket night.
“We’ll be keeping the doors open until 9 p.m. and offering demonstrations and live music as part of the show,” Moore said.
The fine arts show will be offering a series of special events, all of which can be seen on its website.
Rob Owen, a Sooke artist who successfully entered his landscape paintings into the show for 23 years running, will have two works in this year’s show as well and described the show as the high point of his year.
“I actually got started back in the ’70s, painting signs and murals on the sides of vans,” said Owen, with a chuckle.
“Not too much of that happening anymore.”
Owen, who started painting landscapes in 1975, said he’s been inspired by Vancouver Island’s Bill Bixon.
“My first year in the Sooke show, I had two pieces in the show. That was 1996 and I won the Juror’s Choice award and sold both paintings,” he recalled.
“I’ve sold a lot of my work at that show.”
The show also has a youth collection, featuring the best of the up-and-coming young artists in the region.
The 11-day show annually attracts more than 9,000 art lovers from across Canada and abroad.
It has become B.C.’s longest-running fine arts show and is considered a premier event for the art community in the province.
“This show is the opportunity to see some fantastic works of art and actually speak to the artists. It’s a rare treat,” Moore said.