In what has become an annual affair, Powell River area artists are looking forward to taking a road trip to the lower coast for the three-day Sunshine Coast Art Crawl from Friday, October 20, to Sunday, October 22.
Three years ago, members of the Malaspina Art Society and other artists who wanted to be in the art crawl found there were not that many people crawling up here from the lower Sunshine Coast to buy their art.
The solution was to take their art to market where the most people are, from Langdale to Earls Cove, according to local artist Ursula Medley.
“Alfred Muma and I decided to take the Powell River artists on the road and I found a venue at Roberts Creek Hall and a beautiful spot to host our group at Rolling Earth Farm,” said Medley.
For Powell River artists, the crawl is first and foremost a business trip, according to Medley. She said there were over 1,600 visitors to the Roberts Creek Hall last year and the total amount from sales was about $25,000.
For local photographer, painter and craftsperson Mischa Brooks-Thoma, the art crawl is where she flourishes in sales. Brooks-Thoma is Powell River’s Natural Soap Lady and she produces an array of natural soap and body products.
She said she uses the crawl as a way of promoting her work, but not every artist is successful at selling over the three days.
“I do reasonably well,” she said. “It’s hit or miss for some of the other artists. Some of them are going down and may not sell a thing.”
Brooks-Thoma said there is not a lot that goes on in Powell River for artists during the fall season. This is the slow time, she said, so the crawl helps to bridge the gap between the tourist and holiday buying seasons.
Business aside, Medley and Brooks-Thoma said the art crawl is a fun getaway for artists.
“It allows us all to stay together and enjoy the weekend, instead of looking at it as a crazy work thing,” said Brooks-Thoma.
This is the third year Medley and Brooks-Thoma have gone to the arts crawl in Roberts Creek and both stay with about 12 other artists at the Rolling Earth Farm near the exhibit hall.
“The farm is a quiet retreat that offers acreage in the forest, a stream running through, chicken yard, cob house and a large communal kitchen and dining area where we hang out, play games, tell jokes and share marketing strategies,“ said Medley. “Some stay in the bunk room, others in private rooms. It’s a chance to get to know each other on a more personal level than when we are at art openings, art fairs and art meetings.”
For Medley, the socializing is the best part of the weekend because Powell River artists don’t usually get to hang out together.
“It's different when you wake up together, you're sharing the shower, you're hearing each other snore and all that kind of stuff,” she said. “You get to meet each other at a different level, instead of going to a meeting, which is how I normally see other artists.”
For more information on the Sunshine Coast Arts Crawl, go to sunshinecoastartcrawl.ca.