Following on my resolution to get more involved with the arts scene in Victoria, I joined the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria (CACGV). I really like the CACGV (though the acronym is a mouthful) since their website is very informative, as are their e-newsletters. Art shows and events are easy to find out about and their online application process is extremely simple and streamlined. You can even print labels for your artwork with a built-in app on their website!
The first show I decided to take part in was the 18th Annual LOOK Show which runs March 25 – April 15, 2017 in downtown Victoria. Here is the show description from the CACGV website:
“The Victoria Arts Council is pleased to host The 18th Annual LOOK Show in partnership with The Bay Centre. This yearly exhibition is widely recognized as one of Victoria’s premier art shows thanks to its inclusive community based approach. Featuring works from emerging to established artists, this year sees a notable expansion which has enabled us to include even more in this important cultural exhibition.”
You were allowed to submit up to three pieces for the show, so I decided to mix it up and submit three different types of mosaics – horizontal, vertical and large square. I tried to pick ones that the colours coordinated since I didn’t know how they planned to display them. Usually in these types of shows they hang the artists’ works together (unless the media doesn’t allow for it i.e. 2D vs. 3D). The drop-off was on a Sunday, which was good since trying to find parking in downtown Victoria is always a challenge.
Two weeks later the show opened, and since there was a ton of art submitted, the CACGV had the LOOK show in three different venues – First LOOK in the main community gallery on Fort St. by the Bay Centre, Second LOOK on Level 2 and Third LOOK on Level 1 in the Bay Centre (both venues using vacant storefronts).
I wasn’t able to attend the show opening since I was up in Sooke at my son’s hockey tournament, but when we got back home I had received an email from the CACGV saying that my mosaic ‘Thought & Memory – Ruby’ had won the ‘Best in Mixed Media’ award! I started dancing around my house saying ‘I won! I won!’ and my family were like, ‘what did you win?’ Of course, I had no idea – but now I definitely had a reason to brave the parking in downtown Victoria – I had a prize to claim!
I stopped at the main gallery on Fort St. just outside the Bay Centre to pick up my prize – a cheque for $75 – OK, not big money but I had covered my entry costs ($20/piece) and my parking. But still, now I had bragging rights and those are priceless! Next, I had to find my where my art was hanging – the volunteer curator thought they might be in the Third LOOK location, so off I went to tour the three LOOK shows.
Since the LOOK show is not juried (unlike the super-competitive Sooke and Sidney Fine Art Shows), the art works were varied in skill level – from a pastel that looked like a photograph (it won Best in Pastels) to portraits that were drawn in crayon (amateur would be a kind description). Plus the works all varied in sizes, media and subject matter – nudes seemed to be popular. In fact, maybe because it wasn’t juried meant that artists could push the envelope a bit and escape the more traditional landscapes and florals. And the art was bright – so much colour!
After passing through the First LOOK, Second LOOK and finally the Third LOOK I did find my mosaics – and my red ribbon – very exciting for me! This was my first art prize (at least since high school) and even though I’ve been published and have been selling my work, having some artistic strangers decide that they like your piece the most (in a category) is great positive reinforcement to keep making art! Next, we’ll see how the juried shows go…