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Victoria's TD Art Gallery Paint-In is back with its biggest art stroll yet

The TD Art Gallery Paint-In has accrued 80 volunteers and 160 artists for Saturday’s edition — both personal bests for the beloved art stroll, which spans 10 blocks of Moss Street, from Fort Street to Dallas Road on Saturday.


Where: Moss Street, between Fort Street and Dallas Road
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria); 11 a.m-4 p.m. (Moss Street)
Admission: Free
Note: Bike parking is available on Fort Street at Central Middle School

The TD Art Gallery Paint-In has been among the biggest events on Vancouver Island for many of its 34 years, and is now up to 30,000 attendees annually.

The free event, produced by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, is still growing in several areas. It has accrued 80 volunteers and 160 multidisciplinary artists for Saturday’s edition — both personal bests for the beloved art stroll, which spans 10 blocks of Moss Street, from Fort Street to Dallas Road.

“Last year was the first one post-COVID, and the response was incredible,” said Nancy Noble, director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. “This year is even more incredible.”

After in-person events were cancelled in 2020 and 2021, several organizational aspects of the 2022 Paint-In were put in place to reduce the impact of COVID-19, including additional distance between artists lining both sides of Moss Street, and limiting the number of participating food vendors. It was the first year in history organizers didn’t necessarily want visitors to take their time perusing the largest adjudicated summer arts festival on Vancouver Island.

Noble didn’t notice the difference. It was all new territory for the Saskatchewan-born executive, who started her tenure with the gallery in June of last year — five weeks before the massive outdoor event got underway. “I was definitely a newbie,” she said with a laugh.

“I’m going to look at it from a different point of view this year.”

Victoria abstract painter Candis Zimmerman took part in the event last year, and is back for her third appearance on Saturday. She will have seven large pieces for sale at her tent near Dallas Road, and created a series of cash-and-carry cards and smaller pieces specifically for the event.

It’s refreshing to not have to focus on sales volume at the Paint-In, Zimmerman said. “Any other time you’re putting your art out there, you feel accountable to the gallery. But with this, you throw it out there and hope for the best. People want to support you, so to have a $20 item on the table they can take with them feels good.”

Artists will showcase their work on Moss Street from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, located at 1040 Moss St., is the central hub for the event, and is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m, with admission by donation. Noble said staff and volunteers will be soliciting feedback on the strategic planning process for the AGGV, which includes a new purpose-built building for the gallery.

“It’s our way of asking people what their thoughts are on the future of the art gallery,” she said.

Noble came to Victoria from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, where she had been CEO since 2016, and has been impressed with the active role the area’s art community plays in its development. Despite its continued success, Noble welcomes feedback on the Paint-In as well. “We’re always open to ideas on how we can make it better. Every year, little things happen. But don’t fix it if it’s not broken, that’s what I say. We’re just happy to have it back.”

Community consultation is key, she added. “This event is really about supporting the incredible artistry of the Island and the Gulf Islands, and being able to showcase local artists. That’s part of our responsibility, as the biggest art gallery on the Island. It’s so exciting to be able to give them a boost. It benefits the community, it benefits the gallery, it benefits the artists. That alone is such a wonderful part of it, how great it is for everyone.”

Zimmerman, who is an established artist, said she doesn’t look at at the Paint-In from the standpoint of sales. The community aspect is what appeals to her, and she’s more than happy to chat with patrons coming and going as they walk along Moss Street.

“It’s a super fun, non-intimidating event. I grew up in a family with a dad who was an artist, and I went to art shows every year. But those are intimidating for an average person. This is a great way to stretch out your reach a little bit to people who aren’t at the same art openings every single week in Victoria.”

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