Downtown businesses are partnering with the arts in the 2015 Artwalk now underway in downtown Fort St. John. Twenty three shops in the downtown core are featuring original artwork by local artists until July 18. The Fort St. John Community Arts Council has provided flyers at every shop, the Visitors Information Centre and the Airport with free touring maps of all the venues and artists.
Paintings, sculptures, glassware, pottery and more can be found in fun and unique corners of downtown. Anna Marie Defosses owner of Baked Pastry and Bakeshop on 100 Avenue, welcomed the watercolour paintings of artist Darby Forest this year. Anna Marie said, “Our customers comment often about the art on the walls and it brings in people who come into Baked for the first time.” She said that the prints and paintings of Judy Templeton last year were a great addition to the shop. The artwork is for show and for sale. Each artist can be contacted directly to sell any of their artwork.
Artwalk 2015 is the third annual event in Fort St. John which began as a program of the Peace Gallery North in the North Peace Cultural Centre. In 2013, Sandy Troudt President of the Gallery Society initiated the program to give the community easy access to viewing artwork by local artists. Starting as a 2 weeks project, the Arts Council has now extended the event.
The weeks of the Artwalk have been specifically chosen to encourage visitors to the community to shop downtown. June and July seem to be the busiest time for visitors to Fort St. John due to major events in town and travelers starting their journey up the Alaska Highway.
A special feature of this year’s Artwalk is the 72 street banners which will hang from the lampposts downtown. Local artist Alan White designed the banners with a “Take Flight” theme for the Fort St. John Arts Council. The Arts Council with the help of community sponsors provided the City of Fort St. John with the banners. The Fort St. John Airport will also feature the same motif on banners hanging from the ceiling in the holding room for travellers who are waiting to board a flight out of Fort St. John.