By Claire Paradis/Special to the Arrow Lakes News
Tourists and locals alike can treat themselves to Nakusp’s artistic offerings.
This summer, visual arts lovers can choose from a wide variety of events going on around town.
The Nakusp Art Walk was started in 1994 by Christine Big Canoe to showcase local talent that couldn’t get into galleries.
“There was limited space and time,” Big Canoe said, “Not everyone was accepted.”
The Art Walk was created to give budding artists who might not have enough pieces for a show or lacked confidence a stepping stone toward having a gallery show. Because art is often displayed in local businesses, many merchants find the Art Walk helps get people in the door. Distribution of Art Walk brochures begins during B.C. Arts & Culture week (April 10–16 this year) and continues until September, with most work remaining on display throughout the year.
Visitors can also peruse visual art during the Saturday Art Tour, when some local galleries and studios are open from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. for self-guided tours.
Debra Rushfeldt and some fellow artists decided to organize an event after the Farmers’ Market “so that people didn’t just get into their cars and drive away” said Anne Béliveau, owner and curator of the Studio Connexion gallery.
The idea was to make art accessible, she said.
All of the galleries are walking distance apart, making it easy to turn a Saturday afternoon stroll or bike ride into an art tour.
Both tourists and Nakusp residents will be delighted to find a rich visual arts culture exists in town, said Anne Béliveau, who believes that culture is growing.
“There are more and more artists who move and would like to stay here,” she said.
Having events like the Art Walk and the Saturday Art Tour in Nakusp builds a local culture of creativity, making it a great destination for artists and art lovers, she said.
The Kootenays is fortunate to have a large number of artists who live and work here, and are able to display their creations in several galleries as well as many businesses throughout the valley.
The ALFA Guild Gallery at Selkirk College and Studio Connexion in Nakusp as well as The Hidden Garden Gallery in New Denver and The Langham in Kaslo all make an effort to bring several shows by British Columbian artists each year.
Béliveau sees gallery visits as an opportunity for people to discover what kind of art they like. It can also be a chance for sales as well.
“[Although] people are being careful how they spend their money, when someone falls in love with a piece of art, they just have to buy it,” she said.
Brochures for the Art Walk, the Saturday Art Tour and for art galleries in the region can be found at the Visitor Information Centre and several other locations throughout Nakusp. The Saturday Art Tour features Studio Connexion; The Museum of Ephemera and Wendy Toogood, Don Mabie, Chuck Stake Studios; Barabara’s Studio; Tale of the Dragon Pottery; Debra Rushfeldt Studio Gallery; The Small Gallery; ALFA Guild Gallery; Betty L. Fahlman Studio.