Artists in Vankleek Hill are banding together in the month of June to help fill in the gaps caused by the cancellation of most of the annual local festivals in the town.
The 2020 Vankleek Hill Walking Art Tour and Scavenger Hunt will take place the during the entire month of June with window displays in local businesses, Arbor Gallery and even the some of the artists’ own homes. Art lovers can start the tour at the by picking up a map located in the mailbox on the Arbor Gallery porch (at 36 Home Avenue in Vankleek Hill), view the artwork on display there, and then head out through town on the tour.
The idea first came about after the cancellation of Vankleek Hill’s annual May Show, in which local artists play a large part. That and cancellations of many local festivals this summer prompted local artists to try to fill the gap.
“We’ve lost a lot of our festivals and this is a real heartbreak for Vankleek Hill because people depend on them,” says Jill Crosby, one of the organizers of the event and whose artwork will be among the displays. “This event will allow the viewing of artwork by local artists and artwork while safely social distancing,”
Crosby and several other local artists, including Lorie Turpin, Reenie Marx and Susan Jephcott, have been busy planning displays for the event and contacting local businesses about the idea. Currently there are nine artists in total signed up and seven locations in place. Organizers hope to end up with 10-12 artists featuring displays in 10 different locations. A full list of artists and locations will be available on The Review website.
As to what each artist will decide to display – it could be anything:
“It is pretty much free form,” Crosby says. “The artists will be paired with a location and window and they will decide what they want to show.”
Participants in the tour will also have a challenge to complete in the form of a scavenger hunt. Included on the map for the tour will be questions about the displays or Vankleek Hill landmarks. This has been added as a way to keep children on the tour entertained as they can search for the answers to the questions at various locations throughout town while their parents view the artwork on display.
The idea for the Vankleek Hill Art Show and Scavenger Hunt has been received with a great deal of enthusiasm from local businesses, who have been mostly idle during the shutdown for COVID-19. The festival itself is designed to bring traffic to storefronts as businesses prepare to open up, and also help to promote the individual locations. Small business retailers in particular have responded enthusiastically to the idea.
“The stores are saying ‘bring on the artwork!’” says Crosby.
One of Vankleek Hill’s best-known artists, Susan Jephcott, will have two displays – one in the window of the Three Owls Studio Gallery in her Main Street home and a second at The Pantry. The display at Jephcott’s home will be of a stained glass depiction of the Town of Vankleek Hill, done by Dodie Dines. It is a piece that Jephcott’s absolutely loves.
“Dodie’s stained glass is very special,” said Jephcott, who acquired the original artwork several years ago and believes local residents will be thrilled by the piece. “A lot of people have not seen it and I think they should, because it is amazing.”
Jephcott will be displaying her own artwork in the window of The Pantry, including her most recent work ‘The David Bowie Spider Spirit Chair’, which she says “just came out of left field. (The chair) was painted white and just made me think of David Bowie.”
Photographer and artist Reenie Marx -who along with Crosby will be displaying in windows at Arbor Gallery – is also excited about the show.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to have family groups and friends walking around town with the chance to discover artwork hanging in windows,” Marx says, noting the tour and scavenger hunt will provide much more for those who take part than just a normal walk around town. “It gives people a kind of direction in their walking as opposed to just meandering.”
More information on the 2020 Vankleek Hill Walking Art Tour and Scavenger Hunt will be posted on The Review’s website as it becomes available. Those who wish to take the tour can do so by just going to the Arbor Gallery beginning June 1 and picking up a map from the mailbox located on the gallery’s porch at 36 Home Avenue in Vankleek Hill.
In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of the map. You can print it out at home and head out on the town, while practising physical distancing!