Columbia Basin culture tour in need of artists and visitors

The free tour runs on Saturday and Sunday and anyone can grab a map and go to see painters, sculptors, galleries, and other artists.

This weekend, people living and visiting the Greater Trail area have the chance to visit artists in their studios in the Columbia Basin Culture Tour.

The tour runs on Saturday and Sunday and is free of charge so anyone can grab a map and go to see painters, sculptors, galleries, and other artists.

Natasha Smith with the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance says the tour is a great way for people to discover something new or visit a place they have never been.

“It’s a great way, if you haven’t been to some of these places before, to explore,” she said. “It’s a really good way to see a showcase of what the artist does and how they do it.”

The tour involves visitors picking up a map and planning a route through the different areas, visiting artisans, artists and galleries.

Most of the dots on the map show tour stops in the Nelson and Castlegar area, with only a few near Trail.

There are four artists in the area on the tour: two in Salmo, one in Trail and the other – weaver, felter, spinner and soap maker, Trisha Rasku – in Rossland.

Rasku says she doesn’t get very many visitors from the tour, and she thinks that is why there aren’t more participants in the Trail area.

“I have been a stop every time and I enjoy it. I don’t get a lot of traffic and I would like a lot more,” she said.  “Lots of people won’t do it because they don’t get enough foot traffic. I think the artists in this area are more in isolation.”

Smith says it is hard sometimes to get artists to sign up, especially if they don’t have up-to-date contact information.

“We’ve had more artists in those areas at different times,” she said. “We will get in touch with people that have participated before and sometimes it is just a life change or they have other things going on. Some are really proactive in signing up, but sometimes not. It just varies.”

Smith says part of the plan to get more artists signed up for next summer’s tour is to start getting the word out as soon as possible.

“The more information we can get out at this time to encourage people for next year is great,” she said. “To really get artists and all of the heritage and cultural organizations to participate, I think taking the tour themselves in a good way to get a sense of it.”

Rasku thinks the tour is a great opportunity for any artist and would recommend signing up for next year.

“I would definitely recommend it to other artists,” she said. “I think its a good thing.”

The tour begins on Saturday at 10 a.m. with maps available at stops on the tour, tourist information centres and on the tour’s website at: www.cbculturetour.com.