Caitlin Aboud might have only started her job as curator at the recently opened Sea to Sky Art House about a month and a half ago, but she had a clear vision of what its opening exhibit should entail.
"I started emailing some of my favourite photographers," she says. "Surprisingly, many replied back."
The result is Exposed, a collection of photography, painting and illustration that fits under the theme of the "outdoors." It will showcase Whistler and Squamish-based talent like Jessa Gilbert, Jeremy Allen, Alex Eggermont and Paul Bride, alongside internationally renowned artists like Chris Burkard (who won the People's Choice Award at the Pro Photographer Showdown in Whistler last April), Jeremy Koreski and Renan Ozturk.
It turned out mentioning "Squamish" to outdoor-lovers—even those outside of Canada—carried some sway. "I started mentioning it was going to be in Squamish, B.C. and right away people were saying, 'yeah for sure,'" Aboud says.
One big win was getting Burkard's now-famous surf photo of wetsuit-clad surfer riding a wave with a massive, snowy peak in the background. "I basically ended up with people sending me some of their best stuff," Aboud says. "Chris gave us one (photo to display), but it's his most famous photo."
Another artist she's excited about featuring is illustrator and climber Renan Ozturk.
"I have always looked up to him," she adds. "He does (ascents) of the craziest mountains and brings unstretched canvas with him and does huge illustrations."
While the Squamish gallery opened late last year, Exposed marks their first exhibit—outside of their permanent collection, which Aboud had to pack away in preparation for the new show.
In total, the work of 70 pieces will fill four rooms, plus a hallway. "It's a lot of organization," she says. "You don't want to misrepresent someone's art. You have to make sure the lighting is perfect, placement is perfect. I'm planning where everything is going to go, which takes a couple of weeks."
The opening party for the show is Saturday, June 23 from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. It will include music, drinks and raffle prizes from Patagonia and Arc'teryx, among other brands. There will also be donations to the Squamish Access Society at the door.
Over 400 people have indicated online that they're interested in attending, Aboud says.
"In my mind, it's basically (artists) cross-advertising for each other," she says. "If one of the bigger artists posts about the event, the smaller guys get advertising about their stuff."
If you can't make it to the opening party, you can still check out the show for a month. After that, Aboud is already thinking about the gallery's next (albeit smaller) exhibits.
"There will definitely be some more exhibitions in the future. I'm planning one now that's just film photography."
To RSVP to the opening party, visit Exposed – Squamish Art Exhibition on Facebook.