Art by the River

Thousands attend Art by the River

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 52nd annual Art by the River got off to a wet start but recovered nicely as the weekend went on.

The show, the largest fundraiser of the year for the Gibson Gallery, reported to have about 2,000 fewer people than last year due to early weather woes.

Saturday morning wasn’t ideal for Art by the River due to rain and wind, but things turned around by afternoon with crowds coming through to enjoy the over 150 artists and crafters that turned out to Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.

However, according to Gibson Gallery board member and office administrator Bonnie Deslippe, the foul weather early on still didn’t stop some from attending.

“We had people lining up to come in,” said Deslippe.

People were coming through with umbrellas, she added, even though some crafters and artists were still in their tents.

Maria Jose paints a portrait during Art by the River last Saturday.

“I think there are people who really look forward to this every year,” she said.

The venue and the fact there are some one-of-a-kind items lends to the success of Art by the River, Deslippe added.

The only damage from the Saturday morning storm was pottery that was broken at one of the tents while another tent at the “Little Artists Workshop” blew away.

“We are still tired but very happy with the way the weekend turned out and are already planning next year,” said Deslippe. “A huge thankyou to all our dedicated volunteers. The event would not be possible without them and the support of the town and staff of Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.”

Local author John Schlarbaum was attending again this year, in what is the tenth anniversary of the release of his book “Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner.” He had many of his other titles marked down to either $5 or $10 to mark the occasion.

“Unfortunately, it’s the one book that’s sold out,” he said.

Schlarbaum said he has been working to record a song that he wrote several years ago and is also trying to get his novella “Aging Gracefully Together” in production as a play.

“My hope is to get a local theatre group to put it on in the future,” he said.

Calista Papaefthimiou compete in the live art competition.

Schlarbaum states he is also in the early stages of a new book project involving his P.I Steve Cassidy character.

Art by the River is enjoyable, Schlarbaum added, as he said he meets people that he has seen there and at other shows.

“I end up meeting a lot of fans and new readers who hopefully enjoy the books,” he said.

Ross Stuart of Kingston entertained on the ukuleles he made. He said it was either his third or fourth year at Art by the River.

“It’s a great place to be,” he said. “The people are fabulous. The town is great.

The 52nd annual Art by the River was held Aug. 25-26 at Fort Malden National Historic Site. Char Pare of Amherstburg shows some of her work.

 

Stuart said he has been making his instruments for 12 years. He travels to this part of Ontario twice per year with the other stop being Art in the Park in Windsor.  He said it makes sense to do the same shows as people who thought about it or tried his instruments often come back to buy the next time they see him.

“Each piece is unique,” he said.

Stuart added he makes his instruments in groups and calls it “a labour of love.”

Dan St. Pierre and wife Carol of Amherstburg attended and created some of their “Miracle Magnets” magnetic therapy jewellery.

“We’ve been doing this since 2004,” said Dan. “When we got started, friends of ours picked up the methods in Texas and brought it up here.”

Dan explained that they make the jewellery themselves and that they ship as far as Kincardine and Ohio.

“We enjoy doing it. We love it,” he said, adding that people drop by their booth at Art by the River “just to say hello.” They have made friends at craft shows and renew old friendships.

Dan added that they’ve noticed that Art by the River doesn’t let just anyone in as a vendor.

Crowds go through Fort Malden National Historic Site during Art by the River.

“They want the best and it shows,” he said.

Char Pare of Amherstburg said it was her seventh Art by the River and she doesn’t do any other show.

“I think the quality of the show is extremely high,” she said. There is talent when going from tent-to-tent and “I think it’s encouraging to people.”

Calista Papaefthimiou and Trinity Hallett were two of the students competing against other students in a live art competition even during the storm. The duo, representing Sandwich Secondary School, came in third place behind Kaitie Lessard and Sallma Majthoub of St. Clair College and Wayne State University respectively and Sophia Fallea and Mandy Brunet of St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School Emily Roe and Laura Fontaine of the University of Windsor were honorable mentions.

“It’s cool,” said Papa, “to paint in those conditions.”

For additional photos, view our photo album.

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.

Young artist shows and sells her work at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A young artist has been making the rounds showing her art and that included a stop at one of Amherstburg’s newest attractions.

Madison Young was showing and selling her drawings and paintings at G.L Heritage Brewing Co. over the weekend. The 15-year-old St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School student explained that she is getting out more and more with her art work.

“I’ve been participating in a lot of art shows lately,” Young stated. “It’s the first time at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.”

Young said it was a positive experience as a number of people viewed her work, took business cards and bought pieces of art.

“I’d say it’s been going really well,” she commented on Saturday.

The local artist added she has stared a YouTube channel and has also branched out into other forms of social media. She has over 53,000 followers on Instagram.

Madison Young had her artwork at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. the weekend of Aug. 19-20. The local 15-year-old will also be a part of Art by the River this weekend.

Madison Young had her artwork at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. the weekend of Aug. 19-20. The local 15-year-old will also be a part of Art by the River this weekend.

Young will also be participating in Art by the River for the first time this weekend. She further explained she likes drawing a number of different subject matters.

The exhibition at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. came after her parents visited the new craft distillery at 8728 Howard Ave. and approached the owners about possibly her having a show there after loving the atmosphere.

“We’re very happy to have local artists and to support friends and neighbours,” said co-owner Jenn Desjardins-Grondin.

Young added she is getting more and more people recognizing her and her work.

“It’s a great opportunity. I’m really thankful to G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. for offering me the space,” she added.

For more information on Young, visit www.diamonddraws.com. For information on the craft brewery, visit www.glheritagebrewing.ca.

Art by the River gearing up for 51st annual show

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

Art by the River, the major fundraiser for the Gibson Gallery, is returning to the grounds of Fort Malden National Historic Site this weekend.

According to Bonnie Deslippe, a member of the board of directors and office manager for the gallery, there are 147 vendors expected for the 51st annual arts and crafts show “but I am expecting we will get a few last minute calls.”

Deslippe said the focus is on fine art, but they will have artisans that work in wood, pottery, jewellery, glass, concrete, metal, soap, lotions candles, fibre and create musical instruments.

“There also are a few gourmet food vendors. The Gibson Gallery Wednesday Guild will be selling their knitted and crocheted items and the Park House Tinsmiths will be on site,” said Deslippe. “The Belle Vue Conservancy will be unveiling the new painting by Peter Rindlisbacher. Of interest, although we have many husband and wife teams exhibiting each year, this year we have numerous mother and daughter exhibitors, a new potter from Amherstburg, Trish MacDonald and her mother, Sheila Currie who is a watercolour artist, Carolyn and Kathy Hardy, artists from Kingsville, and a long-time exhibitor Elizabeth de Lange of Harvest Pillows (buckwheat) joined by her daughter Sasha who creates turmeric teas.”

Traya and Melah Mulder  create their own pieces of art at the “Little Artists’ Workshop” during Art by the River last year. The event returns this weekend.

Traya and Melah Mulder
create their own pieces of art at the “Little Artists’ Workshop” during Art by the River last year. The event returns this weekend.

Art by the River will be featuring live art again this year with local students painting Saturday and Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts board members judging on Sunday with the winners receiving $400. The Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts is the board that operates the Gibson Gallery.

“We have musical entertainment in Barracks Way and Artist Alley sponsored by RBC to add to the ambiance of the event,” said Deslippe. “Sabre Bytes Robotics will be doing demos as well as some of the artisans and for the children, TD Canada Trust is sponsoring the L’il Artist Workshop where they can create their own work of art for free.”

Deslippe said Art by the River’s average attendance is 8,000-10,000 people over the course of a weekend. Admission is $5 for adults with children under 12 being free as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

“This is our 51st year as the principle fundraiser for the Gallery. It allows us to run and maintain the Gibson Gallery as a free public gallery and offer children’s art and craft classes for a nominal fee,” she added. “Because we pay a rental fee to Fort Malden, the free 2017 park passes cannot be used at our event. The Fort personnel will be offering mini militia, music demos and Fort tours free.”

For more information, call the Gibson Gallery at 519-736-2826 or visit them at www.gibsonartgallery.com.

 

Art by the River celebrates 50th year

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Organizers and vendors at Art by the River reported good crowds and positive feedback during last weekend’s event… when it was dry, that is.

Thunderstorms cut both days of the 50th annual event short but when it was sunny and hot during earlier portions of Saturday and Sunday, things still went well. The annual event is presented by the Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts, the body that runs the Gibson Gallery.

Denise Busko works on a painting last Saturday during Art by the River. She was one of the 150 artists and artisans on the grounds of Fort Malden for the 50th annual event.

Denise Busko works on a painting last Saturday during Art by the River. She was one of the 150 artists and artisans on the grounds of Fort Malden for the 50th annual event.

“Yesterday was one of our busiest days that I can remember,” said Dave Cozens, president of the board of directors. “Fortunately the storm came late enough (Saturday) that people had already been here.”

Saturday afternoon’s storm saw damage to about five tents but Cozens noted that it was minor and there were no injuries that he was aware of. The decision to close early came around 3 p.m.

“It could have been a lot worse,” said Cozens.

Sunday’s round of storms once again caused the event to shut down early, as the call was made to close around 2 p.m. The gallery reported via the Art by the River page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/artbytheriveramherstburg) they were on track for a record turnout before the thunderstorms rolled in.

Overall, there were about 150 vendors that took over the grounds at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada. Being the 50th anniversary of Art by the River, the gallery added a raffle tent with about 80 pieces of art being donated. Cozens said that was popular.

“The raffle tent has been packed,” he said.

Vendors came from all around southern Ontario, he said, something publicity director and board member Bonnie Deslippe confirmed. She said many are from around London and Toronto with some being north of Toronto. One vendor comes from as far as Manitoba every year.

Traya and Melah Mulder  create their own pieces of art at the “Little Artists’ Workshop” during Art by the River.

Traya and Melah Mulder
create their own pieces of art at the “Little Artists’ Workshop” during Art by the River.

“The feedback I get from exhibitors is that they love the venue and they love how organized the show is,” said Deslippe. “We hear it all the time – ours is one of the better run festivals.”

While the 50th anniversary is important to the Gibson Gallery, Deslippe said the artists are the most important factor to Art by the River.

“For us, the focus is always on the art,” she said. “The focus is not about us, it is on the art and making sure everyone enjoys themselves, both the public and exhibitors.”

Deslippe pointed out the volunteers have been a vital part of the show for each of the 50 years.

“The event can’t go off without our dedicated volunteers,” she stated.

When storms hit, Deslippe added the volunteers worked hard to make sure everyone was safe and merchandise was cared for properly.

Crowds stream through Fort Malden National Historic Site during Art by the River. The event is the Gibson Gallery’s largest fundraiser of the year.

Crowds stream through Fort Malden National Historic Site during Art by the River. The event is the Gibson Gallery’s largest fundraiser of the year.

For Denise Busko, this year’s Art by the River was her first and she is trying to branch out into larger, outdoor shows to get more exposure to her paintings.

“This is what I want to do, sell my art,” she said. “I’m going to keep doing shows like this. It’s been a good experience. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback.”

Busko said she has done solo exhibitions and smaller shows but liked Art by the River.

“I think this has been the best yet just because of how many people come here,” she said.

Local author John Schlarbaum was along the shores of the Detroit River selling his books and reported Saturday afternoon things were going well.

“For me, I’ve sold a lot of books,” said Schlarbaum. “I am very happy.”

Schlarbaum called it “a nice local, cultural event” that allows him to connect with his readers.

“The Greek Chef” Oreste Papageorgiou and his delicacies were part of the show for about the sixth time. He said the people are very friendly and has never had any issues with the organizers of the show.

“A lot of the same people come here and say ‘we love you, don’t stop coming,” said Papageorgiou.

Papageorgiou said they loved the fact they were helping the Gibson Gallery celebrate the 50th annual show.

“We love to celebrate with them. That’s quite a milestone,” he said. “It seems to be getting better all the time.”

Dan Greenwood and his Erie Treasures Chainsaw Art came in from Wheatley for the second straight year and he called it a nice venue he enjoys coming to. He said he is learning what pieces to bring to which shows and has learned that the Amherstburg show has resulted in a lot of bird creations being sold.

“Last year, we sold everything that looked like an owl,” he said.

Greenwood said coming to Art by the River “has worked out very well” and “we love it here. We’ll come back again next year.” He added he can remember coming to Art by the River when he was 11 or 12-years-old.

Kaitlynn Lessard and Sallma Majthoab create a large piece of art as part of a competition for students during Art by the River.

Kaitlynn Lessard and Sallma Majthoab create a large piece of art as part of a competition for students during Art by the River.

Lanre Peacock was at Art by the River for the first time. Having just moved from Toronto to Windsor, he wanted to try a local show as he generates a good portion of his income through art sales.

“I love what I do,” he said.

Much of Peacock’s work is sold online but he wants to get to various art shows in the region as well and tried Art by the River. He said the exposure and feedback was strong.

“That goes a long way when you are hearing people talk about what you are doing,” said Peacock.

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and their phone number is 519-736-2826. Their website is www.gibsonartgallery.com, their Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/GibsonGallery and their Twitter account is @ARTamherstburg.