Visitors of the Sooke Fine Art Show check out an art piece. This year’s event is moving online due to social distancing measures set in place by provincial health authorities. (Jack Most - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke Fine Art Show moves online due to COVID-19 pandemic

34th annual event hosted online in order to adhere to social distancing practices

One of Sooke’s most well-known events is shifting gears this year, planning to enrich people’s isolation experience with local art.

As a result of the pandemic, the Sooke Fine Art Show is being hosted online in order to adhere to social distancing practices.

Terrie Moore, executive director for the Sooke Fine Arts Society, said organizers are working hard to reflect the same feel of the in-person art show as much as possible.

“Everyone would prefer an in person event, and our intention is to get back to that next year. There is a special relationship that takes place when standing in front of an art piece,” Moore said,

This year marks the 34th anniversary of the show.

“We hope people will recognize we are doing everything we can to come up with ways around this situation. We are a resilient organization and want to do everything we can to support local artists and bring art to the community.”

The popular summer event draws upwards of 9,000 art lovers annually from across Canada, the U.S. and beyond to SEAPARC arena to view artists’ work. Last year, 380 artists displayed their work.

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This year, people can visit the show online anytime from July 24 to Aug. 3, although Moore added it may be possible to buy art from the website up until the end of September. There is no fee to view the galleries.

A wide range of categories will be featured in the show, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, jewelry, ceramics and more.

“I think on a positive note, this year’s online event will allow us to get the show out on to the world stage a lot broader than before. Any way we can expand the reach of the show, I think is a really good thing,” Moore said. “It puts Sooke on the map as an art destination.”

A big part of the event in previous years was having a youth gallery and section for kids to participate in activities, as well as having artist demos; Moore said she hopes to set all of those things in place this year too.

“We are still in the beginning stages, but fortunately the board made the decision early so we have some time to look at different options,” Moore said.

“We have had a lot of good response from people, especially from artists, that we are keeping the show going. It’s exciting to try something new and we ask for continued patience as we work through all the details of what this year’s experience will look like.”

Artists wishing to submit their work can find the submission form on the Sooke Fine Art Show website. Submissions are open until midnight on June 1 and cost $15 for each piece entry. Anyone looking for more information, to donate or to sponsor the event, can also refer to the website at sookefinearts.com.

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