Art lovers admire one of Phoebe Dunbar’s bowls at the Sooke Fine Arts Show on July 24.

Artists’ night marked by awards, music and celebration

Annual Sooke Fine Arts Show runs until August 4 at SEAPARC

Island artists turned out by the hundreds for the 28th Annual Sooke Fine Arts Show Artists Celebration over the weekend, an intimate chance for show sponsors and donors to mix and mingle with the region’s finest visual artists—and possibly lay claim to a coveted piece or two.

A crowd of nearly 500 attended the July 26 event, which kicked off with the presentation of Artist Awards, followed by live music by Victoria crooner Maureen Washington.

More than $12,000 in awards were presented to 18 artists in recognition of outstanding work. The award winners include:

Awards of

Excellence

Empty Windows #4, Seth Berkowitz

Delicate Balance, M.E. Sparks

New York Girl, Andrew Bartley

Workshop Demolition, Nicola Wheston

Hope Container, Derek Kasper

Princess Grace of Atlantis, Susan Koch

Entrance 3, Jane Francis

Shoreline – A Sure Line, Barbara M. Birke

Juror’s Choice Awards

Waiting on the Rocks, Deb Thurlbeck (Juror Michelle Jacques)

Fidolopis, Michael Robb (Juror Celia Duthie)

October Moon, John Mortenson (Juror Jeremy Herndl)

Designer’s Choice Award

Rhyming, Iris Nardini

Jan Johnson Memorial Award for Social Commentary

War Games III, Jenny Waelti-Walters

Honourable

Mentions

Carousel Teapot, Judy Weeden

Oceanography, Roxanne Martin

Hilary Working – Pulpmill, Judy Kujundzic

Untitled, Fred MacLean

Sunday Morning, Tatjana Angermeyer

The Award of Excellence was particularly poignant for photographer Seth Berkowitz, whose piece Empty Windows #4 was one of a series on loss and grief, following the loss of his wife Beth last year.

Berkowtiz notes that within the empty spaces, however, lies an openness to the future’s potential.

“They represent the emptiness of a great loss – the removal of tangible articles in a life,” wrote Berkowtiz about the series of two dozen images. “It is the ending of something vibrant and active. However, the images also represent the blank slate that now exists in that empty space. It is an open place where, in the future, something new and exciting will appear.”

The regional show, he added, was a key stepping stone in his artistic trajectory, “Being accepted into the provincially important Sooke Fine Arts Show in 2013 was an important step in developing my career.”

Juror’s Choice winner Michael Robb, also of Salt Spring Island, agrees, “Regionally [the Sooke Fine Arts] show has set the standard for ease of admission, efficiency among your volunteer staff at receiving and returning the art, and the superb hanging of the show.”

Gulf Island artists figured heavily among award recipients during Saturday evening’s awards presentation. Honourable mentions were presented to Galiano Island artist Fred MacLean and Salt Spring Island’s Judy Weeden; while a second of the eight prestigious Awards of Excellence also went to Salt Spring artist Nicola Wheston.

Berkowitz credits the vibrant artistic community on Salt Spring Island with supporting his growth as an artist.

“I am fortunate to have as a mentor, not merely a single artist, but a community of generous and immensely accomplished artists.”

The show opened with the Purchaser’s Preview on July 24, attended by the more ardent art collectors who left a trail of red dots in their wake, each denoting the sale of a piece of art.

“There’s nothing like a red dot to brighten your day, make you feel like an artist, and wonder ‘Who the hell bought it?’,” laughed artist Anne Boquist, whose whimsical sculpture Who Called The Midwife was an early sale.

The show and sale remains open to the public through Monday August 4.

Seniors Teas take place at the SFA show on Wednesday, July 30 and Thursday, July 31 from 2 to 4 p.m. Included with regular admission for seniors 65 and over and $3 for those under 65.

Come out and enjoy a complimentary cup of tea with scones and jam. Take your time, relax, enjoy tea and a wander through the gallery.

Taste of Sooke Thursday, July 31 from 7-10 p.m.  A night to explore what Sooke has to offer in the way of culinary arts. Tasty appetizers will be supplied by many of the amazing eateries in Sooke. West My Friend will entertain while you view the art and browse in the gallery and gift shop for that special work of art, whether small or large. Tickets can be purchased online via Paypal, by credit card over the phone 250-6420-7256 or by cheque.

The youth in Sooke have also contributed with art works in the Youth Art Gallery.

Lots of demonstrations by artists in all mediums.

Enjoy music of all genres while you wander the gallery looking ta the art work.

Visit www.sookefinearts.com for details on activities, events, gallery hours and admissions.

The Sooke Fine Arts Society is a non-profit organization created to encourage and promote a greater understanding and appreciation for the arts, as well as hosting public learning opportunities for all ages of artistic techniques and expertise.

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