Monday August 17, 2020 | SOOKE, BC
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
The 34th Sooke Fine Arts Show went online this year in response to the physical distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it was a success for all the stakeholders including organizers, artists and audience.
The Purchasers’ Preview event on the evening ahead of the 11-day show that ran July 24 to August was definitely a highlight of the show, says SFAS executive director Terrie Moore.
“We’ve been getting some wonderful feedback from visitors, both in the guestbook on our webpage and anecdotally through comments from people as we are out and about in the community,” says Moore. “We are still teasing apart the analytics but we do know that we had visitors from all over the globe,” she was excited to report.
There were comments in the online guestbook from people who enjoyed the show from Australia, Texas, and all across Canada. “Some of the most rewarding comments came from people who said they weren’t normally able to get to the show for various reasons – distance, time, health – and that they so appreciated being able to see the art online,” said Moore.
This could be a harbinger of things to come, as in having an online version of the show in future.
Successes of the 2020 show:
From the organizer’s standpoint, the successes of the Sooke Fine Arts Show include meeting their modest 2020 sales goal our sales goal in selling over 70 pieces of art. That’s about 60% of the number sold last year.
Most of the works sold locally on the lower Island but a number were shipped to Ontario, Alberta, Washington State and California.
Many of the local purchasers were able to meet the artists in person when arranging the pick up or delivery of their artworks, and that seemed to be a delight for both the artists and the purchasers.
Supporting the artists:
“Most importantly, we were able to support the community of artists in our region during these troubling times,” says Moore, who is in her second year running the popular event.
Art sales will continue online through to September 30.
Stats-wise, there were over 14,000 unique visits to the www.sookefinearts.com art portal during the 11 days of the show. That’s a 57% increase over the show’s usual 9,000 in-person visitor count.
The show next year will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the popular exhibit which has boosted the popularity of artists in the region and enhanced the tourism economic profile of the Sooke region.
Island Social Trends (formerly West Shore Voice News and Sooke Voice News) has been a sponsor of the Sooke Fine Arts Show for many years. This year West Shore Voice News was a gold-level sponsor, in support of the arts and this particularly inventive and creative exhibit which generates such great support for artists in the island region.