The Ashcroft Art Club’s 49th annual Fine Art Show and Sale ended on Tuesday, but Paulette Thille, the club’s Treasurer, says they’ve already started making special plans for next year’s 50th annual show.
“We start working on the next show the day after this year’s show ends,” she laughs. “We look at what went right, what went wrong, what weird things happened.”
There were 161 pieces of artwork by 26 artists on display this year, down from last year’s 197 pieces. Thille says that a couple of regulars weren’t in town for this year’s show, and adds that sometimes things happen at the last minute. It’s one reason the show’s catalogue takes a lot of time to produce, with artists removing or adding pieces until almost the day of the show.
Artists can exhibit up to 10 pieces each, which must measure less than 6,000 square inches cumulatively. The pieces cannot have been shown at an Ashcroft art show, which means that every year the display is completely new.
There were other new things this year, including two artists (Marianne Munro and Valerie Keller) displaying at the show for the first time, and at least two long-time artists (Jo Petty and Margot Landels) striking off in new directions: Petty using the medium of encaustic (a wax-based paint that must be kept molten on a heated palette), and Landels moving away from landscapes to focus on animals and people.
A regular feature of the show is the opportunity for local students to visit. This year more than 150 students toured the show, and Thille says the students don’t simply look at the work on display. “Some have been given questions and assignments. The younger children might be asked to draw a copy of their favourite picture, so you get them sprawled on the floor, drawing away. And sometimes the older children are asked to write to the artist who created their favourite piece.”
They also get people from outside the immediate area visiting the show, with some attendees travelling here each year from Kamloops, Merritt, and beyond. They also usually get some out-of-province visitors, and Thille says that this year a group of people from Switzerland happened to drop by on opening night.
Thille says that it takes about 20 volunteers to put together the show, with set-up starting two days before, when the display boards are put up. The next day the artwork is hung, which this year took the volunteers more than five hours.
“There’s an art to hanging pictures,” says Thille. “They should be arranged by colour scheme, or by direction, so everything flows. We also have to make sure there’s wheelchair accessibility, and room for people to move.”
The art show marks the end of the Art Club’s season. From September through April members of the club meet every Wednesday from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the St. Alban’s Church Hall.