The Gabriola Island Thanksgiving Studio Tour returns this weekend, with some requested upgrades to the south end of the island.
For three days, more than 60 exhibiting artists will open their doors to visitors from October 8 to 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Carol Fergusson, executive director of the Gabriola Arts Council, said she was not only excited since new artists were taking part, but because she also anticipates a “higher appetite” than last year, as “the people want to get out and resume their normal activities”.
Fergusson estimated around 1,500 visitors attended in 2021 as part of the Thanksgiving weekend tradition, with an increase in off-island visitors.
“The tour sees people from New York, LA, Ontario, everywhere…People are finding out about it online and in brochures…and people love visiting Gabriola and want to come back,” she said.
To kick off the event, an Opening Reception will be held at the Central Tower on October 6 from 7-9 p.m. and will remain open during visiting hours until October 10. Central Tower, located above the Nova Boutique and Gallery at Folklife Village, will also preview sample pieces from each participating artist. Visitors can also pick up a map of the 53 studios that stretch north and south from Gabriola to the hub, as well as BC Ferries terminals on the island.
An original acrylic on canvas painting by Tony Grove will be raffled off, with the October 10 draw at 2 p.m. Tickets can be obtained at the central tour or by electronic transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org as one for $5, three for $10 or five for $20.
As requested, Fergusson said 2022 will also see the addition of portable restrooms and a food truck at Gabriola Island Community Hall, 2200 South Rd., on all three days during visiting hours.
As a studio tour veteran, Dianna Bonder will return for the 16th time.
“My studio is open year-round, but the Thanksgiving tour really brings a good crowd and a lot of people to the island,” she said. “This year will be great because I haven’t shown in three years, so there’s a lot of new work – a lot of sculpture and a lot of painting…and it’ll be good to meet people again.”
Over the weekend, Bonder plans to showcase new sculptural pieces at the forefront, and since it’s a new medium for her, she eagerly awaits feedback.
“Most people on the island and those who come to the studio know my experience in the area of children. [literature] which has been the essence of my career. So, now move away from child lighting and just focus on painting and sculpting.
Her studio, located at 1488 Peterson Rd., will also feature her paintings as well as copies of the 15 children’s books she has illustrated.
The artist said his art style has been described as a “carnival of the weird”, in that it can be seen as low-key, edgy, alternative and a “can’t-miss roadside attraction. “.
“People come here and they have their experience, and they either like it or they don’t like it. There doesn’t seem to be too much in between,” she said, adding that she was inspired by the works of Tim Burton, Maurice Sendak and Edward Gorey.
“Although what makes my studio maybe a bit unique is that it’s a really good space for kids… They like to come and visit. There are books, the paintings are weird and interesting…but my audience is mostly adults.
For more information on visiting the Gabriola Island Thanksgiving Studio Tour, including an online map, go to www.theartsongabriola.ca.
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