The Terrace Art Gallery made a colorful splash at the George Little Park on Aug. 12 during the 2023 Riverboat Days festival. Hosting the successful Artists in the Park event, 22 local artists took to their easels, engaging the public with their creative process and answering questions.
Terrace Art Gallery Coordinator Laura McGregor said the idea for the event originated from a desire to bring artists directly in front of people. Last year, the gallery applied for a grant to turn the idea into reality.
“We wanted to do something that would allow artists to share their story directly,” McGregor said. “The artists work really hard on producing their artwork, but are not always able to tell their story, as an artist or about the artwork they’ve created, so this was a way that the public could bring their questions directly to the artist.”
The artists, many of whom are part of the Skeena Salmon Arts Show, not only shared their finished work but also spoke about being an artist in northwestern B.C., the materials they use, and the messages they seek to convey.
Financial support was also a significant aspect of the event, as artists were paid for their time.
The event’s success extended to the Terrace Art Gallery itself, drawing visitors who were previously unaware of the public art gallery located underneath the Terrace Public Library.
“Last year, 12 artists participated in the event,” McGregor noted, expressing her hope that the event would grow to accommodate 30 to 35 artists in the coming year. The gallery plans to re-apply for the grant later this year to continue the event next year.
This year’s event had a distinctive flair, as artists were not there for a farmer’s market sale but to share their stories and creative processes. McGregor found that both artists and visitors were engaged and intrigued by the experience, adding a level of personal connection between the creators and their audience.
The Artists in the Park initiative complements the gallery’s existing Artist in the Window opportunity, where members can engage with the public in the upper gallery on a first-come, first-serve basis every day the gallery is open.
This community outreach and artist engagement event, funded by the British Columbia Arts Council, not only showcased the talents of local artists but also strengthened the connection between the artistic community and the public, creating a vivid and memorable addition to the Riverboat Days festival.
Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.