Victoria has long been spoiled for talented artists, creators, and makers. Now a new creative class is adding to the artsy quotient and upping the city’s game. Here are six ways to better your Victoria ‘AQ.’
1) Trounce Alley Gallery is a new addition to the historic downtown laneway that shares its name. Small and vibrant, it specializes in Canadian work that feels fresh and new. Collectible artist Timothy Wilson Hoey (best known for his iconic O-Canada series) is a gallery staple. Watch for exhibition openings and pop-ups — they tend to be packed, friendly and a good spot to mingle. Conveniently, the gallery is paces away from Bodega Bar where the colourful tapas are like art on a plate. Try a flight of the specialty sherries that come topped with bowls of savoury pinchos.
2) If there’s one event to put on your art calendar, the 29th Annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In (July 16) is it. Part epic street festival, part juried exhibition, it’s also a showcase of Victoria’s community spirit (think front-yard barbecues and lemonade stands). Sculptors, painters and photographers line the ten blocks from Fort Street to the Dallas Road waterfront, while a beer garden, music and dancing round out the fun. The event attracts more than 35,000 visitors each year. Moss Street Market is the perfect place to pit stop for fresh bites and organic produce.
3) If it’s not already on your radar, small but mighty Polychrome Fine Art should be. Located in the Fort Street corridor, there’s always something going on in the space (and on its walls). Put the upcoming show by award-winning Lincoln Clarkes on your calendar (August 4-18). To date, the Vancouver-based photographer’s lens has settled on Burning Man festival, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and Texan women with their guns.
4) Those who want to get hands-on head for Poppet Creative in the Oaklands neighbourhood. The new storefront studio offers art classes, workshops and retreats in a huge range of mediums: from printmaking to leatherwork, street art to weaving. Poppet hosts drop-in events, artist talks and artisanal wares for purchase, too.
5) If you haven’t been, The Makehouse, helmed by former fashion industry maven Jenny Ambrose, is a studio-shop with an educational bent dedicated to all things sewing and textiles. Check out the workshops, clothing swaps and maker camps for kids.
6) Integrate Arts Festival (August 26-28) celebrates Victoria’s small galleries, artist-run centres and alternative arts with an annual art crawl. ‘Crawlers’ are encouraged to explore by bike, foot and public transit using the festival map. This year’s 10th anniversary edition features a family-friendly bike tour and evening shuttle to participating venues. Better still? The crawl is free.
Find out what else is Free in Victoria
Main Image: Courtesy Timothy Hoey