The Grand Prix of Art is set to return to Steveston this upcoming Labour Day long weekend, after taking place virtually last year due to COVID-19.
On Sept. 4, artists will once again race against the clock as they paint at one of the 35 locations assigned to them at random along the waterfront from London Farm to Garry Point Park.
“One of the things that I always hope and dream for is that we could celebrate artists like we do athletes or musicians,” said event organizer Mark Glavina, who owns and operates the Phoenix Art Workshop in Steveston.
The outdoor event will also feature food trucks and vendors Salty’s Lobster Shack, Mama’s Fish and Chips, D’Original Sausage House and Sweet Surrender Gelato.
There will also be a music lineup composed of Crabgrass, Ranj Singh, Swing2Beat and Sangre Morena.
Glavina said one of the things he loves about the event is how “there’s no faking it.”
“You get a location, you’re fighting the elements, you’re fighting the changing light, rain, wind, and put in a place where you have to just say ‘okay, this is what my inspiration is and now I have to make a painting in a time limit.’”
The event also gives painters the opportunity to be inspired by each other and learn from the master artists, he added.
About 30 per cent of this year’s artists are new to the grand prix, said Glavina, adding that spots were filled within about two and a half weeks. The event received approval from the city a few weeks ago.
However, while the event – now in its 11th year – is returning in person, there will be some modifications given the ongoing pandemic.
There will be fewer artists competing in the three categories of Masters, Adult Open and Youth Open – around 80 compared to the usual 120. The number of volunteers this year is also limited.
Furthermore, the artists start times will be staggered between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Artists must return their completed paintings to the shipyards before the four-hour deadline is up.
“Normally we give them three hours to make their paintings, so they have a little more time…and the work has to be framed, and then it’s displayed, adjudicated and for sale to the public,” said Glavina, noting this year paintings will be displayed outdoors, under tents, rather than inside.
Awards, including some cash prizes, will be presented to top artists in the three categories.