On Saturday evening Nelson artist Christina Buffonge helped paint one of the wooden ArtWalk men, which in previous years had been used to mark art venues. The silhouetted characters were repurposed as a community art project for the 29th annual ArtWalk, in which 30 visual artists were being displayed in 14 venues while dance performances, live music and face-painting kept passersby busy. Photo: Will Johnson

ArtWalk’s almost 30!

Co-ordinator Stephanie Myers thrilled with bustling Friday evening opening

Stephanie Myers couldn’t keep the brochures stocked.

The ArtWalk co-ordinator was frantically rushing back and forth Friday evening between the 14 Nelson venues being featured for the 29th annual event, ensuring all the roaming performers were starting on time and making sure everyone had what they needed.

And mostly, it seemed, they needed more brochures.

The streets were packed with art enthusiasts, giant puppets mingling with hoop dancers and live-painters, while inside venues such as the newly opened Torchlight on Front Street or three of the local pot dispensaries, residents had the opportunity to meet artists in person and purchase their pieces right off the wall.

It’s hard to keep track of how many pieces have already gone.

“I know the Potorium sold one, Touchstones sold about seven and I heard Cotton Creek sold five,” Myers told the Star, in the days after the event.

“Not everybody kept track of numbers, but Touchstones did and they had 470 people through the door, which is the best they’ve ever done numbers-wise. The weather really co-operated, it was perfect, so the downtown streets were packed.”

Myers was hired to organize the event by the Nelson and District Arts Council. Visual art and photography from 30 local artists will be on display through the summer months, and during the opening they were humming with excited energy.

“Everyone was super stoked, especially the first timers who were super nervous. It’s nice because artists spend so much time in solitude, so to be able to come out and get feedback from the public is a really powerful experience for them.”

One artist, Melanie Wright Day, was returning to ArtWalk after being in the very first one 28 years ago.

“It’s funny, ArtWalk is one of those things that’s been around so long that people might take it for granted, but when I was handing out brochures and walking around I saw that people were super stoked to get them, to check it out, to go around to all the different venues.”

Next year for the 30th anniversary, she wants to go even bigger.

“If you’re a venue or an artist who wants to take part in our 30th anniversary, next year is going to be off the hook.”

Will Johnson is a director on the Nelson and District Arts Council.

 

The 29th annual ArtWalk featured live music, street dancing and face painting. Artists greeted residents in person during the two-hour showcase, which saw the downtown core packed. Photos: Will Johnson

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