The fifth Vic West Art Quest adds zest to life across the bridge today and Sunday. Fifteen artists open their studios from 1 to 5 p.m. The event, created by and for the artists, is planned to coincide with Vic West Fest, the annual extravaganza of the Victoria West Community Association at Banfield Park.
The Spiral CafÃ© (418 Craigflower Rd.) will host a group show and the B.C. School of Art Therapy will hold an open house. Seven artists who make up The Imagists group will present their fourth group show nearby at David Hunwicks Sculpture Studio (211 Harbour Rd., 11 to 5 pm).
So look out for the turquoise blue signs. Organizer Jane Baigent points out that the Art Quest is very walkable and bikeable. For a map and biographies, go to vicwestartquest2012.com.
The Saanich West Studio Tour (www.gobc.ca) is also being held this weekend, followed on May 1920 by the 10th annual Scattered Artists Studio Tour (gobc.ca), featuring 21 artists whose territory centres on Cedar Hill Golf Course. They welcome you from noon to 5 pm.
I spoke with Jenny Waelti-Walters, one of the Scattered Artists, to get the inside story. Waelti-Walters is an accomplished painter whose unique method of making monoprints has led to exhibits at the University of Victoria, Art Rental at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and at Eclectic Gallery in Oak Bay.
She knows what it takes to get things done. A few years ago, Waelti-Walters put a notice in the Community Arts Council bulletin and started an annex to the tour already taking place in nearby Broadmead.
Eventually, those down the hill from Broadmead came up with their own tour. They tried calling it Three Hills and Lakeside-Cedar Hill before settling on Scattered Artists.
"Some of our members - the really scattered ones - were horrified, but those with all their ducks in a row loved the name," she told me.
Among the group are professionals Hermann Edler, Ken Horn, Elfrida Schragen, April Caverhill, Betty Meyers and Anne Swannell.
Diane Thorpe, Community Arts Specialist for Saanich, takes a real interest in the studio-tour movement and annually calls a meeting of all Saanich's tours, which include last week's Gordon Head tour and the Mount Tolmie on May 26-27.
The municipality has bylaws against retail sales from home, but has agreed to allow artists to sell from home throughout the month of May.
Waelti-Walters laughed at the thought that art buyers might be so numerous as to cause parking problems. During the two-day event, her studio (and the garage, given over to a quilter whose townhouse can't accommodate the tour) might see 60 to 100 people.
These days, there are so many tours that people pick and choose which sites to visit. Among the Scattered artists, those who aren't part of what Waelti-Walters calls a clump might see as few as a dozen visitors.
That said, advertising a tour has become easier. The Scattered group relies on a beautiful fullcolour tour map (designed by Hermann Edler, who makes whimsical and colourful wooden and painted folk art) and an enormous mailing list from Edler and Cindy Gibson (sunny garden pottery designed to make you smile).
The information is available at scatteredartists.ca and GoBC.ca, a provincewide artfriendly website.
The Scattered Artists group keeps things simple. A core group of about a dozen meet once to choose a date, another time to arrange publicity, brochures and signs, and then it's up to the individual artists. The cost to join is a mere $60.
If you live in the area, you're qualified. "Who are we to jury?" Waelti-Walters mused.
"We figure we can let the public vote with their feet."
Whether you walk, bike or drive over, stop in to your nearby artist's studio. You'll be inspired.
It's free! Tony Bounsall is offering a hands-on workshop totalling 56 hours over six weeks for youth under 25. Its called Holga Dreams.
The Holga is a cheap plastic camera from China with a cult following that has fallen in love with the dreamy-looking images it makes.
The workshop, camera, tuition and processing are all paid for by the Saanich Legacy Foundation, under the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria at the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill. It runs from May 16 to June 30. Call 250-383-1814.
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