There can be little doubt that the City of White Rock’s Pop-Up Town initiative at the former uptown premises of White Rock Tourism has been a big success in raising the profile for artists in many disciplines.
Reinforcing that success – as part of a two-month Fall Festival of the Arts in the city, which includes the current Outside The Box Festival at the White Rock Community Centre and other venues, and the upcoming opening of Frankenstein 1930 at the Coast Capital Playhouse – will be Semiahmoo Arts’ Arts For Everyone celebration at the Pop-Up Town gallery, Sept. 2-29.
Throughout the event the storefront gallery, in a high-traffic area of Johnston Road, will highlight works by Semiahmoo Arts members and partner groups (including the Semiahmoo Potters and the South Surrey White Rock Art Society) that are either for sale or part of the art rental program.
And Semiahmoo Arts executive director Barb Nelson said a series of workshops and other events in the space – including a temporarily-relocated Zero to 360 literary open mic (Sept. 8) – will continue the theme of showcasing the possibilities of all forms of art.
“I’m very thrilled at how it has worked,” said Nelson, who was part of the city arts and cultural committee side group advocating for a local pop-up gallery.
“It’s always different, always fresh and always alive – a wonderful way for people to be exposed to art in all its forms,” she added.
“It’s not a replacement for other arts venues, it’s an adjunct to them – the only thing that would make it even better is if the City of White Rock would continue it beyond December (the end of the original city lease on the property). We’d all love to see this continue.”
Visual arts such as painting and pottery might be expected components of Arts For Everyone, but Nelson said the aim is also to include literary work through Zero to 360 (in which authors can register to read six-minute excerpts from recent or in-progress works) and a Sept. 2 workshop on ekphrastic writing (literature inspired specifically by visual artwork) with poet Heidi Greco.
Another ongoing literary element is the Postcard Short Story project (Sept. 1-25) which invites members of the public to write ultra-short stories on supplied postcards, each of which will become part of a month-long display.
“We were hoping people would come in and contribute their own work, but we couldn’t have them submitting long, long stories or poems,” Nelson explained.
“If you go away somewhere and you send a postcard to someone, it’s basically a story – a short glimpse into whatever it is you’ve been doing. We have a big board to display people’s postcard stories when they finish them, and if we need more space, we’ll put up another board!”
Notable stories will be selected and their authors will be invited to read them at the closing reception, Nelson said.
“That will be on Thursday, Sept. 29 – it will include music and food and be a celebration of the entire month.”
She added that the Arts For Everybody displays will also include the three winning paintings and People’s Choice award-winner from the recent Paint The Town plein air art contest organized by Semiahmoo Arts.
Workshop topics will include fundamentals of coloured pencil art (Sept. 4) and an introduction to silk painting (Sept. 7), both presented by Debbie Strong (“for the silk painting workshop, participants will be able to create something they can take home with them,” Nelson said).
Nicci Battilana, one of Semiahmoo Arts program instructors at the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre, will teach workshops on stamp carving and mark making (Sept. 13) and ‘Big Eye’ art in watercolour’ (Sept. 16); while Bobbi Hammersley will retrace some of the origins of art in a workshop illustrating ways of painting with plant pigments (Sept. 14).
Events of particular appeal to children – underlining the power of imagination – are also an important part of the all-ages schedule, Nelson said.
‘Dream Worlds’ – a collage workshop for youngsters – will be taught by Saskia Schanz (Sept. 11); while children two to seven years old (accompanied by a parent) are invited to bring pillows and blankets to the daydream-inspiring Surrey Youth Theatre Company’s Bedtime and Naptime Theatre event (Sept. 16-17).
The gallery is located at 1459 Johnston Rd. and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For times and details of events and workshops, visit www.semiahmooarts.com