Lake Country’s association with the arts is reflected by the success of the annual Carr’s Landing Art Tour.
For the past 15 years, the event has seen Carr’s Landing artists opening their home studios to showcase their art for both local residents and visitors to the community.
Even for Noreen Malmqvist, who along with her husband artist Chris Malmqvist was a driving force behind starting the art walk, she has a hard time defining why the art tour has enjoyed long-term success beyond the community’s overall long-term support of the arts.
“I’m not sure why, the longevity of it,” Malmqvist said. “We sorted of started out by trying it for one year on the August long weekend and it kept on going.
“It is a fun and enjoyable way to meet people, to see our friends in the neighbourhood and for the participating artists to display their artwork.”
All the artists will have new artworks to sell and look forward to interacting with visitors one-on-one to discuss their own artistic inspirations and get feedback.
For their part, Malmqvist’s husband has just completed a stone sculpture of an octopus, working with a 300-lb. stone.
“It is one of the biggest stones he has ever worked on,” said Noreen. “People often stop by and check out the progress with this latest sculpture as he goes along.”
She thinks another key might be the event has never attempted to grow beyond supporting artists in the Carr’s Landing community, retaining its artistic grassroots appeal.
The first art tour was held over the August long weekend and has been expanded in subsequent years to the last weekend in July due to long interest.
“After that first year, a lot of local people told us they were out of town on the long weekend but would have loved to come if it was on for another weekend, so that’s why we added that second weekend and it’s been that way ever since,” she said.
Along with the opportunity to sell their artworks, Malmqvsit says the art tour is also important for raising the exposure of the artists.
She says they have developed a personal mailing list of 400 people, largely derived from visitors who sign the art tour guest book.
“We can easily have about 300 people pass through our studio over the course of the two weekends,” said Malmqvist.
Direct emailing, social media access and partnering with local wineries have all helped raise the public exposure to the art tour, but Malmqvist said the roadside signs identifying the participating artists on the art tour weekends also prove to be influential for attracting the attention of visitors.
“We hear about the roadside signs all the time from people. They might be driving through Carr’s Landing on a given day and see a sign and decide to stop.”
The other participating artists for this year’s art tour include Dale Harris, Laine Lowe, Virginia May, John Waite and Doug Alcock.
Art tour passports, which include a map with directions to all the participating artists’ studios, are available at local wineries, Lake Country Art Gallery, Winfield IDA and the Lake Country Liquor Store.
Participating wineries, each donating a box of wine as a passport draw prize, are 50th Parallel Estate Winery, Gray Monk Estate Winery, Arrow Leaf Cellars, Ex Nihilo Vineyards, Intrigue Wines and O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars.
The art tour studios will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all four days of the event; July 27 and 28, and Aug. 3 and 4.