The best in the Northwest

Last month I mentioned that I was going to visit Sidney’s Sister City, Anacortes, to take in its 50th annual Arts Festival Aug. 5 to 7.

Last month I mentioned that I was going to visit Sidney’s Sister City, Anacortes, to take in its 50th annual Arts Festival Aug. 5 to 7. The event is listed as the second largest juried art show in the Pacific Northwest — and I can believe that. It took two days to view the 250 booths that lined Anacortes’ main street. Artists in every medium imaginable were there, some traveling from Arizona and California. To entertain, there were musicians, buskers, face painters and plein air artists. Shops displaying art were accommodated by leaving spaces between the booths and sandwich boards or chalked road signs directed people to them.

With visitors from Vancouver, Bellingham and Seattle easily able to visit for the day, the organizers estimate 90,000 are drawn to the event.

I also attended the Sooke Fine Art Show, now in its 25th year and showing the polish that number of years can add. The amount of volunteer time needed to put such a show on was evident in its design, gift shop and added interests.

Our Sidney Fine Art Show, now in its ninth year, is also remarkable for its organization, a quality not missed by participating artists who are eager to enter shows of this caliber. This year our show takes place Oct. 14 to 16, and as I mentioned  about the Sooke show, it takes a number of volunteers to make it happen. Should you enjoy working on some aspect of the show for a few hours, please call the arts council at 250-656-7400. You do not need to be an artist but just enjoy the atmosphere that the arts exude.

This year watch for an expansion of the show: the ArtSea Festival will take place Oct. 16 to 29 and include musical, literary and theatrical events.

Also, during September and October at the Tulista Art Centre the third annual First Nations and Metis show will take place. The arts council extends a hand to our fellow artists on the Peninsula and provides an exhibition space at the centre for them to exhibit their latest work.

Artisans 2011 Gift Gallery, now on at the centre, closes Aug. 28. It displays a variety of local arts. Coordinator Dale MacEwan was pleased to include three artists new to Artisans this year and who were also accepted into the Sooke Fine Arts Show.  Damaris Oakley, of Redroom Artglass Studio creates lampwork beads, fused glass jewelry and stained glass; Lynn Laughren is a metal artist who does sculptural and functional metal art for the home and garden; and Heather Hamilton of Finely Found Designs creates handcrafted silver jewelry. Her silver neckpiece Internal Reflections won Best Jewelry award at the Sooke Fine Arts Show.