Good news for art lovers: the Ashcroft Art Club’s annual Fine Arts Show and Sale is returning for its traditional show at the end of April, featuring dozens of works by local artists.
The last “regular” art show was in 2019. It was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and took place later that year in online format only. In 2021 the show once more took place virtually, but works were also hung in the Sidewalk Gallery on Railway Avenue in Ashcroft so that people could see some of the artwork up close and in person.
This year, with the removal of many COVID restrictions, the show will be returning to its traditional venue of St. Alban’s Church hall for three days at the end of April. However, club president Heidi Roy says that this is not the only place that people can enjoy this year’s show: all the pieces will once again be available to view online when the show opens on April 29, and people can get a sneak preview of some of the works at the Sidewalk Gallery starting on April 1.
“The general consensus of most people is ‘Yay, it’s going ahead,’” says Roy, who admits that the last two years have been tough on the club.
“We’ve had membership turnover: some people have retired their brushes or moved away. We have some new members, but some aren’t quite confident enough to show their work yet. It will be a smaller show than usual, but we wanted to go ahead and have something. Things will be spaced out at the hall, so it will be less crowded.”
People appreciated having the virtual show, she adds. “It kept some form of the show happening, but it wasn’t ideal, because you couldn’t tell if you were looking at an 8” by 8” picture or something that would fill a whole wall. And on a computer colours aren’t 100 per cent.”
After the first “virtual” year, Roy says they wanted something that was in person as well, even if the regular show wasn’t happening.
“We had the hybrid show last year at the Sidewalk Gallery so people could see the works in real life. We heard from some people that they appreciated it, and it was well received.”
This year’s show was very difficult to plan, because of health regulations changing on a regular basis.
“We booked both the Sidewalk Gallery and the church hall as venues, as we didn’t know which one we would use. When the health regulations changed and there were no restrictions on gatherings we decided we could go ahead with the show.” Roy adds that one piece from each artist in this year’s show will be hanging in the Sidewalk Gallery as a preview, as an advertisement and for people who are still cautious, and concerned about being close to other people.
“And we’ll have the online version as well, for people who don’t want to travel that distance or be in a crowded space, so they can enjoy the show virtually.”
In addition to works by members of the club, Roy says the organizers have contacted Desert Sands Community School to see if there is some student artwork that can be displayed as well. “We like to showcase emerging artists. The school groups won’t be coming, but kids are welcome to come to the show on the Saturday or Sunday.”
Roy is also hoping that the club can attract some new members.
“We’ve had so many people move to the area, so we’re hoping we can pick up some new people who are interested in the arts.”
The display at the Sidewalk Gallery opens on April 1, and the show runs at St. Alban’s hall starting on Friday, April 29 (6 to 9 p.m.), then continues on April 30 and May 1 from noon to 5 p.m. both days. The works will all be online starting on April 29; go to www.ashcroftartclub.com to see them, or to find out more about the club.
“People are excited that the show is going to be happening in person,” says Roy. “With all the negative news happening all the time, people want something positive to look forward to. People enjoy looking at art, and everyone can appreciate art in their own way.”