President of the West Coast Fine Arts Show, Brian Croft, said pandemic restrictions necessitated a shift to an entirely online event this year, running until April 30. (File photo)

President of the West Coast Fine Arts Show, Brian Croft, said pandemic restrictions necessitated a shift to an entirely online event this year, running until April 30. (File photo)

The West Fine Art Show shifts to an online-only event amid tighter health orders

Website version retains the flavour of the annual live exhibition

The West Fine Art Show, originally announced for Langley’s Glass House Estate Winery, has pivoted to an online-only show.

The 11th edition of the show, which opened on April 9, can now be found at until April 30.

The show’s organizer and co-founder, historical landscape painter Brian Croft, said it had become evident in the lead-up period to the event that current provincial health orders would make it impossible to stage it as originally planned.

“We knew we’d have to pull the show back and pivot it — we knew we’d have to react responsibly,” the artist, a retired RCAF veteran, said.

“The fighter pilot in me said ‘I won’t give up’,” he added, noting that the decision led to some long and challenging hours of work to try and replicate — as nearly as possible — the experience of the event online, on the show’s already-existing website,

READ ALSO: West Fine Art Show returns for 11th year, with pandemic protocols in place

Croft is well-known on the Semiahmoo Peninsula for his richly evocative and meticulously researched original canvases and prints of 20th century Vancouver and Lower Mainland scenes, and all of the noted artists involved in the annual event share a similar passion for depicting the unique environment, character and lifestyles of B.C. and Western Canada.

The plus-side to moving the show online, he said, is that it immediately expanded the scope of the display.

“I brought in another 10 artists as there were no longer any space constraints,” he said, noting that there are now 28 featured on the website as participants in the exhibit.

In addition to Croft, these are Bryan Coombes, Joyce Trygg, Ken Nash, Brent Cooke, Richard Brodeur, Emily Lozeron, Lorn Curry, Graham McKenzie, Serge Dube, Drew Keilback, Jodie Blaney, Jim Pescott, Ronald George Straight, Lynn Sykes, Judy Vanderveen, Felicity Holmes, John Ferrie, Jan Rankin, Joanne Finlay, Heidi Lambert, Patricia Falck, Victor Gligor, Alison Philpott, Lizete Dureault, Teressa Tetar and Michael Arne Jorden.

Each artist has a personal gallery for the show, including an email link and phone number, Croft said. “Our purpose has always been to connect people directly with the artists.

“We’ve tried to incorporate all the things you’d see at the show,” he added, noting that Red Robinson, traditionally the emcee, makes an appearance in the online version, as does the music of guitarist John Gilliat, which can be played in the background as viewers scroll through the galleries.

“John is very tech savvy, and he’s been able to set up his own space on the website,” Croft added.

And the charitable component of the show is also there — 25 per cent of each artwork sale, plus the proceeds of a prize draw, goes to the Langley School District’s Food For Thought program, Croft said.

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