Saturday, July 27, 2019 ~ SOOKE
by Mary Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News
Premier John Horgan was the featured guest at the well-attended Artists Celebration of the Sooke Fine Arts Show on Saturday evening July 27 at SEAPARC Leisure Complex in Sooke.
On Thursday evening, the annual Purchaser’s Preview attracted art enthusiasts to make early purchases and enjoy the ambiance of the well-appointed show. But this Saturday night annual awards event is the highlight for mixing and mingling with the Premier, the mayor of Sooke, and other local VIPs. Ticket price was $35 per person.
Horgan has attended 14 years of the Sooke Fine Arts Show. In the last few years he has remarked on how well the SEAPARC arena becomes transformed into a professional art exhibit. And this year there’s a “bigger cheque from the province than in previous years”. The Premier acknowledged the Sooke Fine Arts Show board, volunteers, community members, and businesses both large and smaller. “Artists have brought us their extraordinary vision and ideas,” said Horgan.
The Premier noted that 33 years ago Sooke was a forestry town with salmon “around the edges” and that now it’s “a dynamic hub on the west coast of Vancouver Island that reaches into hearts and minds of so many diverse and dynamic people who come together to make this evening happen”.
Horgan congratulated Terrie Moore on her first year as the Executive Director. Sooke Fine Arts Society president is Geraldine McGuire again this year.
Premier Horgan thanked Sooke for being a “dynamic, caring and engaging community… I can’t tell you how at home I feel here”.
The District of Sooke now includes the Sooke Fine Arts Society as a line item in their municipal budget, which provides more consistent funding for the Sooke Fine Arts Show.
District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was in attendance along with Councillors Jeff Bateman, Al Beddows and Tony St Pierre. At the podium Tait spoke about the impact of the Sooke Fine Arts Show in the community. She noted that transit shelters, hydro boxes, and other infrastructure in the community present local art as well. Art has been around for thousands of years, she noted. “Art itself grows in the imagination.”
Tait noted community grants have been given by the municipality to support lighting and other aspects of the show infrastructure. She dug into the past of local municipal councils in mentioning Sheila Beech, David Bennett and Janet Evans who she noted as having advocated for the arts.
Honoured this year at the 33rd show was the late Brenda Parkinson who served on District of Sooke Council for many years. Her husband Stewart Parkinson accepted an acknowledgement from the Sooke Fine Arts Society for Brenda’s contribution to the arts in Sooke over many years.
About 1,000 people attended the evening that included ample hor d’oeuvres and wine. A quirky note this year…. heard by about 250 people who gathered around the stage to hear Horgan and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait deliver speeches, was that the Premier has a new blue suit jacket with orange stitching around one of the button holes on each cuff — orange of course being the brand colour for the NDP party of which Horgan is leader.
Attending in the crowd this year was federal Green Party candidate David Merner, accompanied by long-time Sooke arts supporter Frederique Philip. It was Merner’s first year at the annual show.
Sooke Historian Elida Peers attended, as did members of Sooke Rotary and many other local organizations.
As in most years, many of the art pieces feature nature and scenes of the island and west coast. There are over 380 items on display at the show, including paintings, photos, glass art, sculpture, ceramics, woodworking, jewelry and more.
One of the first art pieces as you enter the exhibit area is a magnificent display of 3D paper pyramids. The overall show offers bright and modern tones this year, with an upbeat energy.
One wall presents three suitably large paintings of arbutus trees collected together in one spot. There is one oversize interpretive painting of a nude woman or two which garnered attention. There was the usual presence of wildlife of the west coast in various artistic presentations. Woodworking is also strong in the show, including one remarkable chair which was one of the five pieces that won Honourable Mention.
The Honourable Mention pieces were ‘Petiole Vessel 1’ (by Christi York), ‘SOS-Save our Seas’ (by Jim Montgomery), ‘Felicity’ (by Peter Loebel), ‘Mt Baker No 12’ (by Melissa Mills), and ‘Young Gentleman Chair’ (by Eric Gesinger).
This year’s three jurors are Grant Arnold, Pennylane Shen, and Richard Motchman — see profiles on page 4 in the July 19, 2019 weekend digest of West Shore Voice News. Juror’s Choice pieces were ‘Grace’ (by Lisa Hebden) chosen by Grant Arnold; ‘Where’s the Toast’ (by Diana Grenkow) chosen by Pennylane Shen; and ‘Unmask’ (by Nicole Sleeth) chosen by Richard Motchman.
A youth exhibit is a highlight each year, tucked away in the arena lobby near the food service area.
From among the 2019 Youth exhibit, Distinction was awarded to Lu Yuyang for ‘Masters of the Sky’, with Honourable Mention to Al Boersen for ‘We Live in the Wrong Moment’ and Angie Song for ‘Daydream’.
This year three graduates from Sooke School District 62 (SD62) won an arts scholarship, one student from each of the high schools in SD62: Belmont Secondary, Edward Milne Community School, and Royal Bay Secondary.
The show opens daily at 10 am within the SEAPARC Leisure Complex on Phillips Road in Sooke from July 26 to August 5, including through the BC Day long weekend.
See schedule and special events on the Sooke Fine Arts Show website. A day for youth is coming up on Tuesday, July 30 — for kids up to age 12 (2 to 4 pm) and for teens (4 to 7 pm). Admission after 2 pm that day is $2 for youth.
The popular Seniors’ Teas will be held on Wednesday and Thursday July 31 and August 1. That’s free for anyone over age 65 as part of their regular admission (and $3 for persons under age 65 who accompany them).
On the same night as the Sooke Night Market at the Sooke Region Museum just down the road, the Sooke Fine Arts Show admission is $5 after 5 pm, and the show will be open to 9 pm. That’s on Thursday August 1.
West Shore Voice News is a Sponsor of the Sooke Fine Arts Show again this year, bringing readers additional coverage of the show as a part of our sponsorship. Free colour print copies of the current July 26th weekend edition are available at the information desk (July 30 to August 5).
Government sponsors include the federal government, BC government, and the District of Sooke. Show sponsors include Butler Brothers, SEAPARC Leisure Complex (CRD), TD Bank, Sooke Harbour House, Keycorp Developments Ltd, Road’s End Contracting Ltd, and Tom Lee Music.
Smaller sponsor categories are for $1000, $500, $250, and $100.