A few hundred volunteers help make the Sooke Fine Arts Shjow happen.

A few hundred volunteers help make the Sooke Fine Arts Shjow happen.

Plans shaping up for SFA show

Sooke Fine Arts Show relies on hundreds of local volunteers

The long summer days may seem an impossibly distant dream, but for those at the Sooke Fine Arts Society summer is fast approaching, and with it the 2013 Sooke Fine Arts Show.

The 27th annual show will introduce new features such as artist talks, giving visitors unique insight into the backgrounds and creative processes of the region’s most talented artists. The ever-popular artist demonstrations will offer a more hands-on learning experience for art lovers of all ages.

“We’re always looking for ways to bring the art down from the walls, so to speak; to make it more personal, more accessible,” said show coordinator Catherine Keogan. “The Sooke Fine Arts Show has always been about more than just looking at art – it’s about engaging with it, reaching out to new audiences, and hopefully fanning small flames of creativity into future fires.”

Keogan joined the society in 2012, and will oversee this year’s show production. The real work, however, comes from the concerted efforts of more than 300 volunteers, who build and operate the show from the ground up each year inside the arena at the SEAPARC Leisure Complex.

The behind-the-scenes process is in itself an important event, bringing together a diverse group of volunteers from all walks of life. Many of the volunteers have been with the show since its early days, and the sense of family and conviviality is strong.

Orchestrating their contributions is no small feat, however, and volunteer coordinator Sande Cummings is charged not only with ensuring the process runs smoothly, but that the time spent is rewarding to each volunteer.

“The shared relationships and friendships that result from volunteering with the show have been, and will always be, the strong point of participating,” said Cummings. “We are fortunate to have volunteers who have been with us since we started this renewed adventure, and we look forward to their return.”

Everyone is invited to lend a helping hand, she said, no matter how small – and experience is always trumped by sheer enthusiasm and good will.

“If you have an artistic flair or simply care, if you’ve volunteered in years past or you are new to the community, we welcome your participation,” encourages Cummings.

The Call to Artists is set for Feb. 15, and artists will have until early June to submit digital images of their artwork for consideration. Eligible artwork spans the visual arts media: two- and three-dimensional works, glass, ceramic, fibre, photography, jewellery and mixed media.

A panel of three independent jurors, each professionals in their fields – curators, gallery owners, educators and artists – review upward of 1,350 submissions to select the 375 pieces that will be featured in the show.

The 2013 Sooke Fine Arts Show opens to the public July 26 through August 5. For more information about the show and the submission process, please visit www.sookefinearts.com.

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