Art by the River

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.

Gibson Gallery gearing up for milestone with “Celebrating Fifty Years of Art by the River” exhibit

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Art by the River is celebrating a milestone Aug. 27-28 with the Gibson Gallery’s latest exhibit celebrating that achievement.

The local arts and crafts show will be held for the 50th time this year and the anniversary is being observed in the current “Fifty Years of Art by the River” now on exhibit through Aug. 28.

“We’re very proud of the success and longevity of Art by the River,” said Dave Cozens, president of the Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts, the board that operates the museum.

The show began small in 1967 and has grown substantially over the years with Cozens stating the founders of the show would be happy to see what their creation has turned into.

“I’m sure the gallery members involved in 1967 would be proud to see how Art by the River has grown,” said Cozens.

The Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts believes their event may be the longest running festival in Amherstburg and Cozens added it is likely the longest running art show in Essex County. It is also the largest fundraiser the Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts hosts annually, with proceeds going back into the Gibson Gallery and the maintenance of the historic building.

Planned upgrades this year include a black, iron fence around the perimeter of the property, replacing a wooden fence which currently exists.

Art by the River attracts roughly 9,000 visitors per year, with Cozens stating “this is a positive spin-off for many local businesses.” He added the volunteers and sponsors have been crucial to the success of Art by the River.

A raffle tent is new this year, he added.

“Many of the artists and artisans have donated a piece of work for the raffle,” stated Cozens.

Joan Jones cuts the cake during the reception. Jones’ mother Florence Woof was an original co-founder of the show.

Joan Jones cuts the cake during the reception. Jones’ mother Florence Woof was an original co-founder of the show.

Parks Canada and Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada were also thanked, with Cozens stating it has been a “very rewarding partnership” for both sides. The town was also thanked for its support as well, as were the artists who return year after year to make the show what it has become.

Corrine Ross, team leader at Fort Malden, was joined by interpretive officer Alex Dale and they expressed greetings on behalf of the Fort.

“We’re very pleased to have (Art by the River) at Fort Malden each year,” said Ross.

Ross said they are looking forward to the arts and crafts show again this year.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo joked he can remember that the show started in 1967 as that was the year he was born.

“Fifty years – that is really something,” he said of the show’s longevity.

DiCarlo pointed out that he is co-chair of the Windsor-Essex Harvest Festival that is happening Sept. 9-11 and that he is learning how much work goes into planning an event in Amherstburg.

“I’m just doing this for one year but Art by the River has been doing this for 50 years,” he said.

oshua and Lauren Vitella perform at a reception for the “Celebrating 50 Years of Art by the River” held Sunday afternoon.

oshua and Lauren Vitella perform at a reception for the “Celebrating 50 Years of Art by the River” held Sunday afternoon.

Organizers put on Art by the River with the only compensation being they are doing something for their community and DiCarlo added he congratulated them and thanked them for “giving us Art by the River for 50 years” and hoped for 50 more.”

Bonnie Deslippe, a member of the gallery’s board, noted the exhibit at the gallery features artists from previous Art by the Rivers. She said they had to research some artists from the early years and ended up finding either original pieces from the first Art by the River or artists from the show’s infancy.

“If you look around the room, you will see some of Essex County’s most prominent artists,” said Deslippe during a Sunday afternoon reception.