In any other year, the Lake Country Community Complex would by now be preparing to host more than 7,000 guests for the Lake Country ArtWalk festival. But with the pandemic forcing the event’s cancellation, a special community project has been been created to take its place.
ArtWalk Art Chairs is a project that fulfills the festival’s two biggest mandates — supporting local artists and providing art experiences to the community — while eschewing large public gatherings.
The festival’s planning committee commissioned 45 artists to transform basic wooden chairs into works of art, which will soon be popping up in 14 Okanagan communities from Osoyoos to Salmon Arm.
“We are so pleased to be able to follow the initial sadness of cancelling Lake Country ArtWalk earlier in the spring with such a fun and accessible community art project,” says ArtWalk Chairperson Sharon McCoubrey.
“Knowing that artists were busy making art this summer, and knowing that these beautiful Art Chairs will be found within our Okanagan communities, marks the 2020 year for ArtWalk in a special way.”
Local artists have had a challenging summer with the cancellation of shows and lessons. Based on feedback from the artists, the project was more than a much-needed job; painting a chair was also a creative challenge.
“As several artists mentioned, they needed an uplifting project such as this to add a spark to their summer,” McCoubrey says.
Clusters of three chairs will be placed six feet apart to allow people to safely come together for a visit, or simply enjoy their surroundings. The chairs will be kept in their respective communities for two years.
Each artist took their own direction in painting the chairs, and the result is a range of artistic expressions “from humorous to reflective to beautiful.”
Funding for ArtWalk is received in part through sponsorships and a grant from Heritage Canada.
Visit www.lakecountryartwalk.ca for more details and to view a gallery of all 45 Art Chairs — as well as a few hints for ArtWalk 2021.