A watercolour by Alan Wylie

Glimpse of the world behind the artwork

White Rock's first full International Artists Day festival will be launched with a gala event Oct. 25

Tickets are going fast for the gala launch event for White Rock’s first full International Artist Day ( IAD) Festival, Friday Oct. 25. at the White Rock Community Centre, 15154 Russell Ave.

Only 200 tickets will be available for the gala – hosted by Jane Baldwin – where art lovers will be able to meet and mingle over wine and canapes with a who’s who of participating master artists, including well-known White Rock artist and IAD founder Chris MacClure, plus Alan Wylie, Raymond Chow, Arnie Fisk, Brent Heighton, Jon Einerssen, Richard Tetrault, Dave Benning, Dan Gray, Gaye Adams, Keith Hiscock, Terry Isaac, Rick McDiarmid, Jef Morlan, Dave Patterson, Vance Theoret and Jose Ventura.

“These are the best of the best – the cream of the crop,” MacClure said of the fellow artists, who will be principal exhibitors and workshop leaders for the festival. “There’s about 1,000 years of collective experience there.

“These are the artists that people never meet, but now they’re going to get a chance to see them on a personal basis. It’s going to be a very exciting event.”

Entertainment will be provided by MC Mark (Mr. O Canada) Donnelly and award-winning local jazz bassist Jodi Proznick and her Trio – and the first 75 people to buy a ticket will also receive a special bonus: admission to a special after-party performance by the trio at White Rock’s Blue Frog Studios.

Ticket price ($150) includes a  $100-voucher, which can be put toward the purchase of any piece of art featured in the festival.

The festival itself runs Oct. 21-27, featuring a variety of related exhibits, talks and demonstrations and opportunities to purchase art. Admission Oct. 26-27 is by donation only.

“This is a chance for people to see the artists’ creative process,” said former White Rock and District Community Arts Council executive director Robin Rankine, who has lately come aboard the IAD organizing committee.

“A lot of people don’t get to see that – they always see the finished product.”

“We wanted to provide a studio setting for each artist as much as we are able,” MacClure added. “(This won’t be) your ordinary trade show booth art show. These artists are very approachable and love to talk to the public, and each will also give a 20-minute talk about themselves as artists over the weekend.”

MacClure said the IAD concept began in a very small way some nine years ago, when he and his wife, Marilyn, owned and operated a gallery in Los Cabos, Mexico.

He found to his surprise that no one had thought of – or at least followed through on – a celebration honouring artists and the role they play in society, so he declared one himself with a press release, choosing Oct. 25, the date of Pablo Picasso’s birthday.

“Pablo was as iconic an artists as any in living history,” he said.

To MacClure’s greater surprise, the idea, from modest beginnings, has gone on to catch the imagination of artists, art collectors, gallery owners, educators and civic governments around the world.

“It’s taken on a life of its own,” MacClure said, noting the momentum has grown to the point that he no longer considers himself an authority on IAD events.

“It’s being done in a thousand places – some of the smaller events I don’t even hear about,” he said.

Events closer to home area easier to track, and MacClure was pleased noting the City of Calgary this year put out a call for artists for a project celebrating IAD.

But he’s content with an arm’s-length role as founder, he said.

“All I wanted to do was encourage it – I didn’t want to dictate it,” he said.

In his home community, of course, MacClure has taken a far more active role in spearheading the White Rock festival.

And he’s pleased the city, “after challenging its Arts and Economic Task Force to find ways to marry the business and arts community,” took  the initiative to host a full festival this year.

Another feature of the event is that artists locally and from across the province have also been invited to submit 12″-by-12″ paintings and other art works which will be on display and available for purchase at both the gala opening and throughout the weekend portion of the festival.

Tickets for the opening gala can be purchased online through White Rock Leisure Services (www.whiterockcity.ca), by calling 604-541-2199, or in person at White Rock Community Centre.



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