Manitoulin Art Tour enters the digital age for its 24th season

MANITOULIN—The 24th annual Manitoulin Art Tour will feature a new way for visitors to find their way around to the 36 artists who will have their wares on display this season (the brochure lists 35, but there was a late entry) with the creation of an online digital map (the 36th artist’s location will be available in the online version).

“So many of our patrons now use their phones to find their way around,” explained Marian Hester, the new Manitoulin Fine Arts Association (MFAA) art tour coordinator. So the Manitoulin Art Tour is entering the 21st Century? “Exactly,” she responds. “People can now go to manitoulinart.com, the MFAA website, and find the online map and information listed about the Manitoulin Art Tour.”

Ms. Hester has committed to staying on as coordinator for the next few years, adding a welcome bit of stability at the organizational end of things as well. Most artists enjoy the Manitoulin Art Tour, but are not all that enamoured of marshalling the considerable logistics of coordinating the event. Even should circumstances change and Ms. Hester not be able to continue in the role, any successor in the role will find things very different from what their predecessors faced.

“There was never a binder or folder full of information on what needs to be done to organize the Manitoulin Art Tour each year,” explained Ms. Hester. “Those days are over, we now have something in place that lays everything that needs to be done. Once that is there, it really isn’t all that much work.”

There are a number of new artists taking part in the Manitoulin Art Tour this year—with a steady expansion westward as well.

“We (Marian Hester and Todd Bailey of Freshile Fibers and Foxey Photography on the Fourth Line) were the most western hosts last year, this year we have Mary Anderson and Enid Runnels on Barrie Island,” said Ms. Hester. “We hope to have artists further west in years to come.”

The Manitoulin Art Tour draws visitors from across the Island and far beyond Manitoulin’s shores and into most Island communities, bringing a lot of ancillary benefits along with them.

“We have really benefited from strong support from municipalities,” said Ms. Hester. “Both NEMI and Central Manitoulin have been exceptional, while other communities are making their recreation centres, libraries and community halls available as host sites.” That helps to keep costs down.

Host sites pay for the privilege of hosting an artists and artists pay a fee to participate as well, a beneficial partnership that works to the advantage of both.

The Manitoulin Art Tour runs from July 20 to 22, 10 am to 5 pm and up to date details on the tour (and the digital map) can be accessed at www.manitoulinart.com. The MFAA also has an active Facebook page that can be found at www.facebook.com/ManitoulinArtTour. There is no cost associated with visiting the Manitoulin Art Tour host sites, but visitors are urged to bring their wallets because with this many artists displaying their wares, there is bound to be something you want to bring home with you.

Each year The Expositor creates a special spread in the paper before the event that contains a map as well.