West Kootenay Advertiser
Castlegar SculptureWalk is entering its sixth year and is well on its way to global recognition. In its short lifetime, this program has grown substantially both in size and quality. Just last year, Castlegar earned the title of Sculpture Capitol of Canada and already submissions are pouring in from all corners of the world.
Executive Director for SculptureWalk, Joy Barrett is extremely proud of their success, “It’s interesting because this year we’ve had applications from as far away as Australia, Cuba and Iran. So it’s kind of gone a bit further than we’ve ever had, which has been great.”
It’s not just the distance that’s increasing between the applications; the number of applicants has risen as well. “The word’s definitely getting out there in the artist community,” Barrett said, as submissions are 30 per cent higher than they have ever been.
Castlegar’s SculptureWalk initiative has been busy reaching out in their own way as well. A partnership with Sioux Falls in South Dakota promotes the art created by Canada’s southern neighbours as well as spreading the work of local artists too.
“What we do every April,” the Director explained, “is we rent a big truck, we drive it down to South Dakota and we bring up ten American pieces. Those pieces have already been chosen and they will be coming up to us in early April to be installed on May 9, which is our opening day.”
“In exchange, Castlegar SculptureWalk also brings several pieces down to the States to their partner network.”
Barrett said this gives Canadian artists a chance to showcase their work down there and they have had some sales down there through this exchange.
“It’s a great way for local artists to expand their reach,” and the locals do love what SculptureWalk has done for them.
Carl Schlichting — from Winlaw, B.C. — is one of the many satisfied artists to participate.
“Castlegar Sculpturewalk has been a fabulous idea right from the start,” he said, “and continues to have many positive spin-off effects. Public sculpture has not been commonplace in our communities, particularly in smaller towns and cities. Castlegar is raising the bar in this regard and as local sculptors we directly benefit from this. I’ve had the huge pleasure to see one of my large pieces, first displayed in Castlegar, find a permanent home in the region. This has given me more legitimacy as an artist and encourages me to explore these kinds of ideas and mediums further.”
Castlegar’s Walk has begun partnering with neighbouring cities to create what Barrett describes as a ‘sculpture core’ and increase the level of public art through the entire region.
“Last year Rossland leased a piece from us and Nelson for the past two years has leased five pieces from us and they’ll both be doing that again this year,” she said.
“SculptureWalk is very positive in many ways: it gives the community and area more culture, sophistication and class.” This is from artist, Denis Kleine. He believes the program brings more than just art to communities though.
“It provides the community with extra revenue because of the draw of people to the area, and helps motivate artists to create sculptures that they would not normally create because of this opportunity. The financial help that artists get through prize money, sales & leases helps them create more works of art for the future. My piece Man in Motion has inspired a community member to raise funds to keep it within the city of Nelson.”
Kleine said it’s fortunate that Sculpturewalk provides this region with more public art.
As of now, applications have closed and 33 sculptures have been chosen to be showcased at this years Walk.
Barrett mentioned they are kicking off their sales and leasing push now and encourage anyone interested in the sculptures to make their decision soon, before they take them down in April.
“It’s remarkable that we’ve come this far in six years. There’s not a lot of arts organizations that have come this far, this quickly and reached this level of interest.”
The opening gala for the 2015 round takes place May 9.