Alan Graves and Catherine Keogan prepare the opening of this year’s Sooke Fine Arts Show at Seaparc Leisure Complex. “We don’t scrimp on the details

Artwork is a family affair

Sooke family has three entries in this year’s Sooke Fine Arts Show

When the Sooke Fine Arts Show opens tomorrow (July 24), three members of one family will be front and centre.

Joan Morgan and two of her children – Samuel Martin, 18, and Bryn Martin, 16  – will see there art showcased in the annual arts festival.

It’s the first time in recent memory that three members in one family have had their work displayed, and in different genres. The children’s father, Rob Martin, is a woodworker and has also been in the show in the past, and supports the show as a sponsor through Island Vacation homes.

Morgan’s work will be displayed in glass mosaic, Bryn will exhibit in digital art and Samuel focuses in on photography.

“We were pretty excited,” said Morgan when the three found out their work had been accepted by the show.

“We’ve spent time reflecting on how we got here, knowing that there was a bit of luck in it with the judges all wanting something from each of us at the same time. There are many good artists who don’t get in.”

This year the Sooke Fine Arts Society received more than 1,400 submission for the show. Only 375 were accepted by the judging panel. Of those, about 50 came from the Sooke area.

“It’s a very high-calibre show,” said Catherine Keogan, the society’s executive director.

The fine arts show runs for 11 days at Seaparc Leisure Complex offering daily artists’ demonstrations, live music, and activities for children and seniors.

It takes more than 300 volunteers to put on the show from set up to take down – and it’s the reason for its success.

“We don’t scrimp on the details,” Keogan said.

“There’s a lot of attention paid to quality in the presentation, quality in the operation. We offer guests more than just an experience of art on the walls. It becomes a much more intimate and engaged experience.”

Some of those who Keogan gives credit to creating a memorable show is volunteer show designer Alan Graves and his team.

Graves joined the society eight years ago as a volunteer when he was invited to design the show.

He worked with the Royal B.C. Museum’s travelling exhibits and a show designer for 19 years and took up on the challenge.

“The society didn’t want this to be a typical museum art gallery,” Graves recalled. “They wanted something a step beyond.”

The biggest obstacle was that the art show was in an ice arena.

Graves designed a modular system based on the arena’s footprint with modular panels and a unique lighting system. Now when people walk into the building they often forget they’re in an ice arena.

“People who don’t know this show (find it) breathtaking and unexpected. The transformation is complete. There is no hockey arena visible,” Keogan said.

For Joan Morgan and her family it will be an entry into the juried art world, which started when her children we’re very young and she encouraged their artistic expression.

Morgan, who has been an artist most of her life, always encouraged her children’s creativity. It started with drawing on a piece of paper. It led to a glue gun and the recycling box and finally her children finding their own niche in the art world.

“It’s the combination of creating an environment where messes were just fine and about doing your own thing.” Morgan said.