Lake Country ArtWalk – an art event not to be missed!

Recently oook contributors Heather Leier and Katie Brennan teamed up to get a better look at the 17th Annual Art Walk in Lake Country.

Having never been to ArtWalk myself, it is my sole mission to do so on September 11th. Every year, thousands of people descend upon Lake Country to take in, from what I hear, is a not to miss gathering of local and regional visual artists. For just a toonie, viewers are able to explore the Lake Country Community Complex where over three hundred artists, working in mediums ranging from painting to photography to sculpture, will be on display.

From talking to a few of the participants, ArtWalk is a chance for them to get a great exposure and to hopefully make some sales, so if your in the market for art, this is an excellent chance to find some local original work and even meet the artists behind them.

As the 2011 theme is “Eye Tunes, A Rhapsody of Art,” it seems as though ArtWalk will not only be a hub for visual artists and their appreciators, but will also be a great chance to take in some local musical performances and even some delectable eats.
As an added bonus, participating artists have been invited to select one music inspired piece each which will be displayed at the Lake Country Art Gallery “Theme Gallery.”

The Lake Country Community Complex and the Lake Country Art Gallery are in a short walking distance on Bottom Wood Lake Road in Lake Country. ArtWalk is open 10-5 September 10th and 11th.


Art Walk has always been something that I always hear about after the fact. Not this year! In July, I had the good fortune of sitting down with Art Walk Founder Jody LaFontaine, who also owns and runs the Barn Gallery (also in Lake Country). Here’s what I learned:

KTB: You’re one of the Founders of Art Walk, how did that come about?
JF: It came about as I was purchasing art for a corporate art collection, that including hanging work in 110 time share condominums. I had an interior designer from Vancouver come suggest artwork for the condos, but none of it appealed to me. It all looked like it was from Walmart. So I said, just leave the art part to me. So I started purchasing art from local artists, so that every condo had five pieces of original art.  And then I started purchasing art for our common areas and for the offices. So before I knew it, we had almost 300 pieces of local Okanagan art. I wanted to showcase local art as a way to encourage other businesses to think about purchasing local Okanagan art for their corporate collections. So the first year of Art Walk we had probably 1500 people come to the resort in 1994

KTB: Which resort was this?
JF:Holiday Park. And then as Art Walk grew over the next 5 years, we would have about 3000 people come and see the work at Holiday Park. It eventually got too big for Holiday Park with all the people wandering through the resort during the 2 days the event ran. Walter Gray, who was the Mayor of Kelowna at that time came, noticed Art Walk and approached me about moving Art Walk to Kelowna because they were looking for an art event to have there. At the same time Bob McCroubrey was the Mayor of Lake Country and he asked me not to move Art Walk to Kelowna, to keep it in Lake Country.

KTB: He’s been a big help to the Arts in Lake Country.
JF:Yes, he’s been tremendous. So we kept Art Walk in Lake Country. The first year ran with no budget, so I had to incorporate that into my marketing budget for Hoilday Park.

KTB: Has Art Walk changed much besides expanding to a bigger location?
JF:I’m happy to say that Art Walk has maintained its focus on local art work and artists and the quality of its juried selection process in this, I think, it’s 17th year.


KTB How did Art Walk go last year?
JF: Last year 17,000 people attended Art Walk and approximately $65,000 in art sales were completed. This event brings a lot of money and interest into Lake Country. It also allows emerging artists a venue in which to show their art. It’s amazing, every year I see dealers from Vancouver checking out what is happening here, looking for new artists. It’s an event that’s important for the artists, important for the community. I am pretty proud of  what Art Walk has become.

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