By Penelope Johnson
Special to the Chronicle
Oliver’s arts community is ready to celebrate spring. The Wine Capital Art Walk blossoms with vibrant colours in the 6200 block of Main Street (between School and Bank Avenues) from Monday, May 7 to Thursday, May 10. Seasoned artists in the full bloom of their talent and some budding artists from Oliver’s schools will display and demonstrate their talents in many media.
Art Walk events begin on Monday, May 7, with 10 artists painting wine barrels into colourful life for the silent auction. They will paint daily between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Monday to Thursday in the lot between Amore’s Pizza and OK Photo Lab. The participants span the artistic spectrum from SOSS graffiti artist Connor Kitt, to seasoned award-winners Marion Trimble, Lorraine Horn and Katherine MacNeill. Two arts groups, The Painted Chair and CreateAbility, will feature the talents of differently-abled adults on their wine barrels. Visitors to the downtown are invited to stroll by to view the barrels in progress and place their silent bids. These one-of-a-kind barrels will make attractive show pieces for gardens, patios, and homes, and will be auctioned off at the conclusion of Thursday’s Art Walk. Bids start at $150. The sales benefit both the artists and arts organizers.
All week, shoppers will notice colourful footprints appearing on the sidewalks down the 6200 block. These identify the 15 businesses that will host artists during the evening art walk on Thursday, May 10 from 6 – 8 p.m.
Drop in to any participating store during the week and pick up an Art Walk “passport,” which doubles as a draw ticket at Thursday’s event. Passports will also be available at the wine barrel auction site, and during the art walk itself.
The art celebration continues in earnest on Thursday May 10 at 6 p.m. Artwork in many media – photography, jewelry, wood carving, pottery, metalwork, fibre arts, acrylics and digital art – will be on display and for sale at each participating business. Chat with some fascinating artists, and do a little shopping. Pick up a passport, have it stamped at each store listed, and enter the completed passport into the draw for a wine-and-dine gift basket.
The wine barrel auction heats up during the Thursday evening art walk, with silent bids accepted until 7:45 p.m.
To stimulate the palate, wine tastings will be available at OK Photo Lab and Baguette & Brioche Bakery, with beer and cider on offer at Beyond Bliss Esthetics. To satisfy more serious appetites, Gecko’s Grill, Amore’s Pizza and Medici’s Gelateria will be open during the evening.
Performance art takes centre stage with Rebel Luv pumping out the pop tunes right on the sidewalk. Mikie Spillett will be sure to get the crowd singing and dancing to her vocals. Professional dancer Andrea Furlan will perform at Pur Zen, with other surprise performances in the works throughout the evening.
Arty Smarty teacher, Leza Macdonald and Oliver Kiwanis will keep small hands busy during Thursday’s walk with some make-and-take art activities for children.
An information table in the centre of the block will be the place to grab an Art Walk passport, enter draws for several more prizes on display, and learn about upcoming arts events.
After the art walk winds down at 8 p.m., a Wine’d Up Party at Medici’s Gelateria will keep the excitement going for the next hour. Enjoy a sweet treat, and view the exhibit of artwork by the Oliver Sagebrushers. All the draw winners will be presented with their prizes. One lucky Art Walk passport holder will win a luxurious gift basket. The best bidders on the wine barrel auction can roll on home with their prizes.