Art Zone embraced by community

The newly formed Art Zone Sun Peaks created a name for itself this summer, hosting six workshops and events in July and August with over 50 art enthusiasts participating in the events.

“Students came from all over,” says artist and Art Zone member Lorel Sternig. “Some were locals from Sun Peaks and area, others came from Kamloops, the Shuswap, Williams Lake and Washington State. We had a group of eight ladies from Texas attend the clay handbuilding workshop in July, so those were our farthest international participants to date.”

The workshops included painting with Debbie Milner, Vaughn Butland, Alex Fong, and John H. Burrows. Clay workshops were offered by Karen Palmer and Lorel Sternig.

“The Alex Fong workshop was particularly popular, with participants all hoping for a return engagement next year,” explains Bruce Mitchell, president of the Art Zone. “His workshop balanced clear technical instruction with whimsically creative subjects like quirky animals and drops of bright colour in unexpected portions of the composition.”

Butland had his students painting outdoors in the Sun Peaks village, while Milner took her group to Whitecroft.

“It’s been an inspirational summer for local participants in these workshops,” says Mitchell. “There will be a new show this fall (in the Fireside Lodge Art Zone space) with creations inspired by the autumn, and harvest themed works on display.”

This next show follows on the success of the Wet Paint Contest set up by Lorel Sternig.

“This was a contest for local artists, where they were to submit a recent (piece of) work and local residents would vote for the ‘People’s Choice’ for best painting,” says Mitchell. “Sponsors included Sun Peaks Corporation, the Cahility Lodge, and Lorel Sternig.”

Winners of the contest were Bruce and Ingrid Mitchell tied for first, and Connie McKnight third.

Art Zone will also soon be an officially sanctioned non-profit Arts Council for the Sun Peaks region. The name “Art Zone Sun Peaks” has been registered, and the society is growing with nine executive members, and an expanding general membership.

“New members are welcome,” says Mitchell. “We meet on the second Tuesday of every month at 4 p.m. at the Fireside Lodge.”

The Art Zone is looking ahead to prioritize projects for 2012-2013. They’re planning to continue providing instructional fine arts workshops, offer a writer’s workshop, and open the studio regularly through the winter for use as an active creation space. For the younger artists, the Art Zone hopes to develop an art festival in April, and provide an art camp for children next summer.

The Art Zone also hopes to collaborate with Okanagan wineries in launching a wine bottle label contest for local artists to correspond with the Sun Peaks Winter Festival of Wine in January.

For more information, and/or to volunteer to assist with any of the upcoming Art Zone projects, e-mail brucejmitchell53@yahoo.com and visit www.artzonesunpeaks.com

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