Gallery Walk, Social Thursday

Oak Bay fill with the sights and sounds of the season Thursday

Ava Alexander

Ava Alexander

Oak Bay Avenue will be filled with the sights and sounds of the season Thursday evening.

From 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3, the 12th annual Art on the Avenue Gallery Walk welcomes art lovers, while the accompanying Christmas Social kicks the evening off at 5 p.m.

“It started small, with the galleries and a few restaurants participating but it has grown to include right up to Foul Bay Road so it’s the entire Avenue,” says Avenue Gallery owner Heather Wheeler, one of the original participants.

The walk welcomes art lovers and shoppers alike  for an evening of exhibits and special events.

With the largest concentration of galleries on the Island, the walk is a great opportunity to enjoy a wide range of art within a short stroll – amid twinkling lights and holiday cheer, says Wheeler, whose Avenue Gallery hosts the All That Glitters jewellery exhibition, with several artists in attendance. In addition, videographer Dave Phillips, from Uber Video, will create a short film at the Gallery.

“We do our own ‘truffle count’ to kind of gauge things and (we usually have) 600 to 700 people through in a couple of hours,” Wheeler says, but adds that with more galleries and businesses joining the fun, the event is easily able to accommodate the people who to enjoy it.

Kicking off the evening at 5 p.m. is the Oak Bay BIA’s Old-fashioned Christmas Social, an open invitation to enjoy the Christmas lights, meet friends and neighbours and take some time to slow down and celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of the season.

“With all the rushing that comes with the Christmas season we wanted to host an event that celebrates the season through the enjoyment of art, music, food and socializing,” says Elizabeth Smith, Oak Bay BIA president. “It’s an evening for welcoming the community and connecting with our friends and neighbours.”

In addition to the Avenue Gallery’s glittering display of jewellery, Winchester Gallery features its Winter Exhibition: A Collection of Exquisite Small Works, with pianist Karel Roessingh and bassist Joey Smith performing through the evening.

Artistic Statement Gallery and School of Fine Art displays original paintings and sculptures by Joan Hill, fashion jewellery by Linda Beltrano and a selection of student drawings, paintings and sculptures, while Side Street Studio presents art for the senses, including Rosemary’s famous Almond Rocca and Sheila Smedley’s Sarabande Treasures Collection, with sparkling Christmas decorations and festive soaps made especially for the night.

Gage Gallery continues its Conjunction exhibit, a group show featuring all the 18 Gage artists who belong to the collective, while Eclectic welcomes guests to enjoy small works Big Impact, featuring the work of more than 20 artists.

Ottavio Italian Bakery hosts its annual tasting evening with seasonal sampling that includes Italian Pecorino with Local Honeycomb, Panforte di Sienna and a variety of estate olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Seasonally popular hot roasted chestnuts will also be for sale.

A short block on Hampshire Avenue between Oak Bay Avenue and the driveway to Athlone court will close to vehicle traffic, welcoming Harris Gilmore and the Mojos at 6:30 p.m. for their lively blend of R&B, reggae, rock and multi-genre mash-ups that will get toes tapping. Balloon artist Paul Kilshaw will also create balloon flowers to welcome guests.

Some shops are also welcoming artists  for the evening. Dale Mitchell is at Athlone Travel exhibiting his photographs and pillow covers featuring orcas, eagles and other wildlife.

For information visit www.visitoakbayvillage.ca.