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Grand Prix circuit growing every year

Annual interactive art show now a three-city affair
grand prix
The Grand Prix of Art founder Mark Glavina shows off the impressive trophy awaiting the winner of this year’s expanded event.

A local competition where artists frantically produce artwork within three hours has expanded into a three-town, provincial circuit with more expected to join, says the local organizer.

Richmond’s sixth annual Grand Prix of Art will be held throughout Steveston on Sept. 19.

This event is the final one in the circuit, following Delta’s event on July 19 and Qualicum Beach’s event on July 25. Organizer Mark Glavina, who runs Phoenix Art Workshop on Chatham Street, has been in talks with various communities over the years, interested in hosting this art competition.

Delta joined this year and the event was well-received.

“The Corporation of Delta really wanted the event and it turned into a screaming success,” Glavina said, remaining mum on other towns that have expressed interest.

“It’s great to have more opportunities like this for artists.”

Grand Prix of Art participants are randomly put at various locations, where they must produce art representing that place in three hours.

Afterwards, newly completed artworks are brought to the Britannia Heritage Shipyards National Historic Site for judging and then put up for sale until Sept. 24, which is when Cultural Days kick off.

Proceeds from the sales go to the artist and 20 per cent goes towards the Richmond Artist Guild. The grand prize is $500, second is $300 and the people’s choice award is also $300.

Most participants are painters, using water colour or acrylic, but last year an artist hung up the paint brush and produced a mosaic instead.

There is also a youth competition and a photography competition.

“Last year we had 106 artists and 18 photographers,” Glavina said.

“Last year was the first year we added a photography competition to the event and it was great because they photographers got to capture the event for the public as they can’t get to all the locations.”

The public is encouraged to pick up a map and visit the 36 sites where artists are placed.

For the photography competition, photographers must create a story with five pictures and not interrupt the artist, who will be madly painting.

“It’s exciting to have that adrenalin kick in,” Glavina added.

“You are randomly placed at a site and you have three hours to produce a piece of art. This isn’t how artists normally work.”

Glavina got the idea to host this competition in Richmond and expand it further from the Annual Grand Prix d’Art in Qualicum Beach, which celebrated its 22nd year in July.

He wanted to provide a new, fun and unique opportunity to local artists.

In its first year, he personally shelled out $10,000 for the event, even after receiving support from the city and local businesses. Last year was the first time he didn’t have to contribute.

Deadline to register for the Steveston event is Sept. 15 and costs $25 for adults and $20 for youths. Registration for the photography competition is $15 but is limited to 16 participants. To register, visit