A Open Letter to Mayor, Council and Staff.
It is with a heavy heart that I make public my intentions not to organize the Grand Prix of Art© in Steveston this year. I understand the issue was brought to the attention of council at a recent meeting. In the last three weeks I have been overwhelmed with inquiries and concerns about the event; it is humbling to see the outpouring of public support for this event.
In 2010 I made a commitment to brand and to sponsor the Grand Prix of Art© in the hopes that within five years we would have a series of these events across the province. The idea was to have Steveston as the flagship event wrapping up the Grand Prix of Art© series held over the course of the summer.
The main criteria I set for the event and for the development of other similar events, to ensure they would be sustainable, hinged on a community first policy with three host partners:
- A committed Art Association/Guild that would be the prime beneficiary of the event in exchange for logistical, organizational, and volunteer support.
- A commitment from the Municipality to provide space, logistical, and in-kind or financial contribution, with an emphasis on a community first policy.
- A strong involvement from the local business community to contribute financially as host partners and to lend marketing and logistical support.
In 2012 the Municipality of White Rock approached me to host the event, but as it turned out this was not a good fit for the Grand Prix of Art©. They hosted a similar event called “Paint the Town” but were not successful and folded due to a lack of interest from artists. The same year Steveston hosted over 100 artists.
In 2015 we launched Grand Prix of Art© in Delta, with the support of the Municipality, the Artists in the Village society, and the Ladner Business association. On Sunday July 19, 2016, we hosted our second annual event in Delta with overwhelming community support: 86 artists attended, 58 volunteers, 12 community partners, and 24 location partners and thousands of spectators. I would encourage you to visit our event website www.grandprixofart.com for an event summary and view some great event photos.
I am proud to know organizing and sponsoring this event that we have made a difference, inspiring artists, bringing community together and putting over $65,000 dollars directly into the hands of artists.
In 2015 the City of Richmond retracted some of their critical support of the event, requesting to be removed as host partners, rejecting our request for location support in the form of providing tents (Rowe Rentals), and a limited contribution to on the ground support during the event. We tried desperately to rescue the event by reaching out to the Steveston Community Centre, who agreed to lend and install the thirty tents required to pull off the September event. As grateful as we for the support of the Community Society, plans for installation of these tents fell through and we were left scrambling to get the tents in place before the event. Although we have always had the support of individual businesses in Steveston we need more collective support from the wider business community and the Steveston Business Association. Last year the president of the Richmond Artist Guild informed me that their organization needed a break from the event, as after six years they were suffering from volunteer burn-out. For these reasons, I’ve decided not to run the event this year in Steveston and take some time to re-evaluate our goals and partnerships.
I have learned a lot over the last eight Grand Prix of Art© events, and at the end of the day as caretaker of the event it’s my responsibility to ensure that the integrity and efficiency of the event is executed to the highest possible level. Other than provide opportunities for artists and local businesses, my overriding goal are to develop a sustainable model for the event, one that all stakeholders participate in and benefit from. I am confident that with proper dialog and stakeholder interest the Steveston Grand Prix of Art© could become a flagship event for the arts in the Province; however, when I started this event seven years ago I miscalculated the limitations of the bottom-up grassroots approach to building a lasting event. If this event is going to continue in Steveston a new approach and sustainable strategy must be designed and developed in consultation with the different stakeholders. I would encourage City Staff and Council members to review this event (and other grassroots events) and lets continue the discussion about policies, encouraging a bottom-up cultural strategy rather than a trickle down model which is so prevalent in Municipal, Provincial and Federal Art and Culture policy making,
Phoenix Art Workshop
8-3891 Chatham St
What a great day in Ladner today. 88 artist registered to compete in the 2nd annual Grand Prix of Art, Delta. 70 Volunteers, music, Food Trucks and sunshine …. Ladner Village was the place to be this Sunday July 17th.
The artists were allocated a painting location by random draw and had exactly 3 hours to complete their painting with some stunning results submitted for the exhibition.
Congratualations to all the participents this year
2016 Grand Prix of Art, Delta winners are as follows
Joanne Shellan (Grand Prix Winner)
Jodie Blaney ( Second Place )
Dan Gray ( 3rd Place )
Tom Taylor ( Honourable Mention )
Iryna Kharina ( Honourable Mention)
Melody Chen ( 1st Place Youth )
Riley Bousky ( 2nd Place Youth)
Twiggy Chen ( 3rd Place Youth)
Another successful year complete! Hosted by Phoenix Art Workshop and the Richmond Artists Guild, The Travellingbrush.com‘s 6th Annual Grand Prix of Art – Steveston took place on Saturday, September 19th, 2015. More than 100 artists of all ages and 7 photographers came out to the historic Steveston Village, and competed in a grueling 3-hour plein air painting race; maybe the most challenging Grand Prix of Art ever with the torrential downpour. At the end of the race, the artworks were put on display in the Britannia Heritage Shipyard for adjudication while artists and visitors were treated to a wonderful lunch with musical entertainment (catered by Steveston’s own Bean and Beyond).
Phoenix Art Workshop and the Travellingbrush.com, would like to thank our 50+ volunteers, musicians and Judges, our key hosts and our amazing community and location partners for helping make this event a success once again. Thursday was more or less anti-climatic after the excitement of our actual event day, with the exception of our Photography Winner announcements and the announcement of our First ever Grand Prix of Art Champion.
Also, a quick reminder of our travel night tonight at 7:00pm at the studio ( 12211 1st Ave, 3rd floor above Bell’s cupcake’s). JOIN US for a slide show of our upcoming trips and exhibition of paintings/reception as we launch our 2016 trips.
I will be posting pictures of the winning paintings and our video of photographic essays on our travellingbrush.com facebook page. For the winning images please visit our page.
Winners for the Youth Awards were
- 1st Place: Windy Wen “Rainy Britannia”
- 2nd Place: Gabriel Ching “Boat”
- 3rd Place: Tamara Steeves “At the Dock”
- Nicole Carrie “Hog Shack
- Jodie Blaney “Gudrun Lane”
Adult Plein Air Competition
- 1st Place: Thomas Xu ”Rainy Day”
- 2nd Place: Peggy Burkosky “Grand Prix”
- 3rd Place: Chris Charleboise “Rainy Day”
Peggy Burkosky from Qualicum Beach
Photo Contest : Challenge
Best Photo Essay : Caroline Au Yeung
Best Over all Photo : Fabian Dominquez
BC Plein-Air Grand Champion 2015 Peggy Burkosky
Hosted by Artists in the Village Society and the Corporation of Delta, The Travellingbrush.com‘s 1st Annual Grand Prix of Art – Delta took place on Sunday, July 19th, 2015. More than a hundred artists of all ages came out to the historic Village of Ladner, and competed in a grueling 3-hour plein air painting race. At the end of the race, the artworks were put on display in the Ladner Community Centre for adjudication while artists and visitors were treated to a wonderful lunch with musical entertainment in Memorial Park (catered by the Dancing Pig Restaurant).
Phoenix Art Workshop and the Travellingbrush.com, would like to thank our 50+ volunteers, musicians and Judges, our key hosts and the following Delta partners: Budget Foods, Ladner Massage Therapy, the Dancing Pig, The Harlow and Mary Ann Burrows Foundation, and Remax, as well as all our Ladner Village location partners.
1st place: Emily Chen
2nd place: Twiggy Chen
3rd Place: Eugene Wang
1st Place: Yu Long
2nd Place: Larry Tillyer
3rd Place: Jennifer Tunner