MANITOULIN—The Manitoulin Art Tour is on this weekend! From Friday, July 18 to Sunday, July 20, over 100 artists will showcase their work in 36 locations all over the Island—in churches, inns, community halls, private and public galleries, businesses, home studios and museums. The excitement is palpable, and the range of art on display is diverse and extraordinary.
First thing to do is to pick up a copy of The Manitoulin Expositor and the Art Tour brochure, both of which include a large map of all the tour venues with numbers that correspond to a list of participants and their works. This is all you need to take along to enjoy three days of cultural Nirvana.
The Art Tour is in its 20th year (1994-2014), during which time it has drawn an increasingly large number of art lovers, residents and visitors alike, who follow the map along highways and back roads to discover the hidden-in-plain-sight secret about the Island: Manitoulin has an astonishing art scene!
Christie Best-Pearson, president of the MFAA, says, “the beauty of the Island and the amazing talent of the many artists is a combination that makes the Art Tour unique. Lorraine Loranger, our board member and Art Tour coordinator, is to be commended for doing the bulk of the work almost singlehandedly to organize this year’s fantastic tour.”
From the village of Silver Water in the west to the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve in the east and all points in between, the artistry is put on show in the towns, by the lakes, in the bays and forest clearings all year-round, but especially during this weekend dedicated to the pursuit (by artists and viewers) of all things creative. The Art Tour is a wonderful way to explore the Island, with treasure, er, tour map in hand, stopping for a picnic on the beach, taking a little meander along the lakeshore, spotting an osprey nest or grabbing a cone from an ice-cream stand to sweeten the art experience even more.
The extensive collection of media on display attests to the broad scope of talent on the Island: every art form is practiced here and may be enjoyed on the Art Tour. Some visitors to the exhibitions may not have experienced felted fibre art landscapes before, or the use of recycled materials on canvas, outdoor installation works or the making of a jingle dress. Well, the Art Tour will change all that!
Many participating fine artists will show watercolours, pastels, paintings in oil and acrylic, photographs, sculptures and carvings while others will display hand-worked jewellery, silk and leather wearable art, birch bark and quill work, stained glass, quilts, ceramics, beadwork, lace, pottery, multi-media, calligraphy and serigraphs.
Themes are just as wide-ranging, from land- and water-scapes, nature and wildlife to spiritual and intangible creative expressions such as abstraction and the meditative movement of the elements.
Each new discovery is also an encounter with learning, an opportunity to understand materials and practices and to meet the artists.
Pick up your personal Art Tour map now and plan your weekend outings; most likely, you will not be satisfied to visit only one venue, but even if you do, you will come away refreshed, inspired and vowing to return next year.