The response to last year’s Art on the Lake…Literally generally fell into two camps.
“We got a lot of incredible, positive responses, I think more than anything we’ve ever done,” said Mo Douglas, executive director of event producer Arts Whistler. “And there were only two types of people, literally: those who had gone and had a great time and those who were upset they missed it.”
A concept that Douglas wanted to bring to life for years, the pandemic and its associated health restrictions finally gave Arts Whistler the kick it needed to turn Art on the Lake into a reality. Slated this year for Aug. 5, the family-friendly, free event transforms the south end of Alta Lake into a floating art gallery and stage, featuring works from more than 35 local artists, live painting, and a lineup of local musicians. Bringing their own watercraft (or a discount rental from Backroads Whistler in Lakeside Park, or Whistler Eco-Tours in Wayside Park), attendees can roam free on the lake and create their own self-guided art tour.
“It was so fun to bring that idea to life last year and, of course, as soon as we did it, we were like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re doing this again for the foreseeable future,’” Douglas said.
New this year is an almost doubling of the art inventory, with roughly 85 works on offer from locals including Andrea Mueller, Dave Petko, David McColm, Levi Nelson, Lisa Geddes, Vanessa Stark, and the late, great Chili Thom, by way of his brother, Jeremy. Painting live on the day will be Gabriela Lech, Annette Effe, Cary Lopez, Robyn Shaw and Kate Zessel.
But, of course, setting up art, along with the sound systems and related gear, in such a setting comes with its own set of challenges. The team at Arts Whistler can’t be afraid to get their feet wet, literally, during installation, and they will have help this year from the Whistler Sailing Club, a few Good Samaritans with barges, as well as their own fishing skiff, which they purchased thanks to a grant from the BC Arts Council.
“Last year was a learning curve, from somebody standing on a paddleboard to people up to their knees in the water installing the art. It’s kind of hilarious,” Douglas says.
Live musical acts include JennaMae Togado, Stephen Vogler & the West Coast Front, Soul Club, Out East, Sean Rose and Susan Holden. The day will also feature live performances from Lil’wat dancers Native Thunder and aerial silks from Treeline Aerial.
“It’s all fresh faces to the event except we invited Susan Holden and Sean Rose back, because they’re both accredited outback guides from back in the day in Ontario, and they’re the two best performers you can put in a canoe because they really know what they’re doing,” says Douglas.
Arts Whistler is asking attendees to follow B.C.’s boating safety guidelines, which includes wearing a lifejacket and not drinking while boating. Learn more at boatingbc.ca.
A free shuttle is also available, which leaves from the village to Lakeside Park every 15 minutes from 1 p.m. onwards. The last ride from the village to Lakeside is at 7 p.m., while the last ride back to the village leaves at 8:30 p.m. Pick-up in the village is on Blackcomb Way by Olympic Plaza, across from Day Lot 4. The shuttle can carry deflated, packed down inflatable water vessels, including stand-up paddleboards, canoes, and other inflatable recreational boats. Air pumps are available onsite.
The festivities run from 2 to 7:30 p.m.
For more information, visit artswhistler.com/art-on-the-lake-literally.