Art by the River reports “best show ever” in 2017

 

By Jolene Perron

 

Since 1967, Amherstburg’s annual Art by the River has brought artists, enthusiasts and art lovers alike to the town’s beautiful waterfront.

“We attract over 150 exhibitors from across Ontario,” explained Bonnie Deslippe, office administrator for the Gibson Art Gallery. “We have added musical entertainment to add to the ambiance and encourage demos by the artists. We also have an area devoted as the “l’il artist workshop” where the children can create their own works of art. We have asked for sponsorship the last few years and have been fortunate to have RBC sponsor the music and TD sponsor the children’s workshop. The fort adds to the event with their “mini militia and historical music demos.”

Adelynn Wong, 2, looks at hand-crafted art along the Fort Malden waterfront Sunday during Art by the River.

Adelynn Wong, 2, looks at hand-crafted art along the Fort Malden waterfront Sunday during Art by the River.

Deslippe explained they have a very strong support system from the community, which brings in between 8,000 and 9,000 people over the course of the two days. She added Monday morning that “it was our best show ever” with record numbers.

It gives artists a chance to sell their creations, interact with the public, gauge buying trends and connect for commission work. It also reminds people how important art is to have in our lives, or as Deslippe puts it “to feed our souls.”

“I believe it is very important to the town,” said Deslippe. “We were the first large festival and are the original art and craft festival in the county. It is all about celebrating everything art and gives people an opportunity to purchase original art in various mediums and to meet with the artists and artisans. It is a family-friendly event that brings people from across the county, Ontario and Michigan to Amherstburg. We encourage them to enjoy our local restaurants and shopping before or after visiting Art by the River.”

Ross Stuart from Rosbilt TinCan Banjo / Ukelele plays his musical instrument, crafted out of an old can of oil, at Art by the River Sunday.

Ross Stuart from Rosbilt TinCan Banjo / Ukelele plays his musical instrument, crafted out of an old can of oil, at Art by the River Sunday.

Even before she became involved with the Gibson Art Gallery, Deslippe said she has always looked forward to Art By the River. She knew it would be a day she could spend in a beautiful setting, surrounded by art, and of course she would always find a treasure or two to purchase and take home with her.

“Last year, for our 50th anniversary, we started a ‘live art’ competition involving two person teams of local students,” said Deslippe. “We have decided to keep it as an annual event. The winning team as selected by the Gibson Gallery board will be awarded a $400 prize to share between the two of them. There are always new exhibitors. As people retire from doing festivals, it opens the door for new exhibitors to apply.”

Local author John Schlarbaum displayed his books along the Fort Malden waterfront during the Art by the River event last weekend.

Local author John Schlarbaum displayed his books along the Fort Malden waterfront during the Art by the River event last weekend.

Parks Canada 150 passes were not honoured at the event, due to the fact that Fort Malden is separate from Art by the River. Deslippe wanted to let people know the Gibson Art Gallery pays a fee to use the grounds and it’s important for the public to understand that any and all money raised goes back into the gallery as a public art gallery and charitable organization run by a volunteer board.

The gallery is always looking for more volunteers and members. For more information, visit www.gibsonartgallery.com or call 519-736-2826.

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