Penticton artist George Traicheff waited 44 years for a day like Saturday, March 25, to come.
The second annual Ignite the Arts’ Lake-to-Lake Art Walk appeared at 25 venues across the city, featuring hundreds of artists, performers and spectators.
Traicheff was the first artist to ever step inside the Leir House on Manor Park Road, as it’s known today, back in 1979. Although similar events have come to Penticton in the past, he says there’s been nothing quite as big, lively and vibrant as Saturday’s art walk.
“This is a great event, you can’t beat it,” Traicheff said. “You know, a lot of times, artists are in their studios alone, but today’s a chance for them to meet the public and share everything they do.”
The Leir House on Saturday featured live pottery workshops, with several pieces on display for viewing and purchasing.
From one of the city’s oldest art studios to the newest, Donut House in the Cannery Trade Centre made its debut on the Penticton art scene by taking part in Saturday’s walk.
“It’s really important for me to be part of this today, even though we’re not officially open yet,” said Jessie Brennan, a newcomer to Penticton’s art scene after spending years as a community fixture in Maple Ridge. “A day like today builds community.”
Donut House becomes the city’s newest art studio on May 1. It is located above Speckled Row, the Penticton pottery studio that also took part in Saturday’s walk and celebrated its one-year anniversary on March 25.
Saturday’s event was free but also family-friendly, particularly during the second annual Ignite the Arts Sculpture Contest in the 200-block of Martin Street. The contest was a standalone event last year but joined the art-walk festivities this time around.
Families could be seen collaborating and competing to be crowned the Ignite the Arts sculpture champions.
“I’ve been waiting for this since the moment last year’s festival ended,” said Summerland sculpture artist Mark Werklund. “It’s a celebration of what I hold near and dear to my heart — art.”
Art galleries and studios, local breweries, businesses and food establishments, from South Main Street to Vancouver Hill, participated in Saturday’s event.
It marks the start of Ignite the Arts Festival’s first full day of 2023.
The 10-day event debuted in March 2022.
“Arts and culture are what gets a town vibrant and alive and that all comes out during the art walk,” said Steve Russell from the Penticton District Arts Council.