‘Time to honour artists’

Week-long festival in the works for later this year

October may seem like a long way off, but it’s not too far ahead to start thinking about White Rock’s inaugural International Artist Day (IAD) Festival – according to artist and organizer Chris MacClure.

IAD founder MacClure, who took the first step of establishing a day celebrating artists more than half a decade ago, has seen the concept take root and grow in different countries around the globe.

“It’s gathered momentum to the point where it has taken on a life of its own,” MacClure said, adding that he is now only peripherally involved in much of the creativity the idea has engendered.

IAD events are now a regular part of the artistic landscape in such countries as India and Saudi Arabia, he said – even Lithuania, where, he understands, the department of education is contemplating including them in the school curriculum.

“Lots of things are happening,” he said.

“But White Rock is where I thought of it, years ago.

“My original idea was that we always refer to the arts, rather than ‘the artist’ – I thought maybe it was time to honour the artists, just for their perseverance, if  nothing else.”

High time, too, MacClure said, that the concept was formalized in the town where it was born. That’s been accomplished in council’s official declaration of the festival for the week of Oct. 21 to 27, following a small-scale preview last year.

Partnering with him are Tourism White Rock, White Rock BIA, Semiahmoo Arts                                                                  and the city.

“Everybody’s excited about it,” MacClure said.

“It’s just a matter of getting all the cats in the box. This is your day, artists – get involved.”

Although details are yet to be finalized, MacClure said he is hoping a strong performing arts component will be contributed by such community stakeholders as the Blue Frog recording studio and performance venue, Peninsula Productions and the White Rock Players Club.

“I’m handling the visual end of it with Semiahmoo Arts,” MacClure said. “The visual will be in one location – we’ll be taking over the community centre on Russell Avenue.”

That section of the festival, to be hosted by Jane Baldwin, wife of White Rock Mayor  Wayne Baldwin, will be a partial juried show Oct. 25-27, for which artists are invited to submit up to three 12×12-inch canvases, unframed, but wired and ready to hang (there will be a jurying fee of $25 for one to three pieces).

The jurying, MacClure said, is only to ensure artistic consistency, but the aim is be as inclusive as possible.

The works will be exhibited anonymously – entries must be signed only on the back. The size restriction means all of the pieces will be displayed equally, which will add the element of “the excitement of the unknown,” MacClure said.

All of the art will be for sale and each piece will be priced at $150, regardless of the artist, with the exhibitors and the artists splitting the proceeds of all sales 50/50.

“That means all of the work will be affordable – we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to purchase something for the first year,” MacClure said.

Admission for the public will be $5.

Works can be anything from paintings to mixed media, provided they meet the size constraints, MacClure said. He’s prepared to entertain sculpture and photography as well, provided the work can be kept to the same scale and price point (submitting artists in these media should email organizers full details of their work).

Given the international nature of the event, the exhibition will also be open to entries from outside the country, and those submissions will be included in a power-point presentation in the lobby area.

“This is a very important part of the event,” MacClure said.

There will be a gala opening Friday, Oct. 25, 5-9 p.m. at the centre (admission $25 by ticket only) and artists are encouraged to attend the exhibit Saturday, Oct. 26 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday, Oct. 27 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Ironically, the Golden Cactus Studio on Russell Avenue will not be part of the IAD festival – MacClure and life and business partner (and fellow artist) Marilyn Hurst recently closed the location as a result of increased costs for staying in the retail space.

“It was a purely business decision,” MacClure said, adding that he and Hurst plan to become more involved in the city’s Art Walk initiative on Marine Drive, while considering future options for their Golden Cactus operation.

In the interim, their paintings can be seen in a joint exhibit at the Langley Arts Council Gallery (20550 Fraser Hwy., Langley) until April 30.

Submissions will be accepted up to Aug. 15, with a delivery deadline of Sept. 15 for pieces that are chosen.

Submitting artists should email info@tourismwhiterock.com or info@internationalartistday.com for more details.

For more information, visit www.internationalartistday.com

Peace Arch News