Celebration of creation 

Whistler Arts Council hosts Whistler’s official annual art party with a twist

click to enlarge Artistic Extravaganza A snapshot of last year's ARTrageous event. Photo by Bruce Rowles
  • Artistic Extravaganza A snapshot of last year's ARTrageous event. Photo by Bruce Rowles

This is the 13 th year for ARTrageous, which is better known in creative circles around town as Whistler’s official art party, hosted by the Whistler Arts Council.

“It’s one night where we can celebrate the arts, so we include Sea to Sky artists and artisans and give them a one night showcase to really bring all of the different genres together,” said Ali Richmond, marketing coordinator for WAC.

The evening isn’t just another opportunity for local artists to put their work in the public eye — though that’s an additional benefit.

“All of the artwork is on sale… but that’s not its main reason for being,” Richmond said. “…I think a lot of the artists just find it a good place to exhibit their work and get their name out there, because I know some of the other artists in town have used it as a stepping stone.”

Rather, the event focuses on celebrating the range of talented artists that call Whistler home. While the Arts Council is commonly known to organize practical or commercial events to help grow the arts sector, this annual sold-out party is a bit of a departure from their typical event. It’s also a great opportunity for creative minds to meet, face to face.

But there’s no need to worry about an exclusive atmosphere — art lovers and creators alike are welcomed with open arms.

“Not everyone that goes to ARTrageous is necessarily an artist or even involved. A lot of people come just because it’s a good party… it always brings out a wide range of people.”

Over 13 years, the event has grown quite a bit. It actually used to be held as a standalone event in July, but a few years ago, WAC teamed up with the organizers of Cornucopia to roll their party into the celebration of food and wine, hoping to appeal to tourists as well as locals.

“Every year, it gets better and better,” said Richmond. “It’s gotten a reputation the last few years — it’s sold out. We had people begging us for tickets.”

This year, the party has been dubbed the Evolution of Art, with the party divided into sections based on different genres of art: abstract, expressionism, pop art, urban art and surrealism. Each section will be decorated according to their genre, with live models painted by local artist, Cary Campbell Lopes.

They’ve asked exhibiting artists to submit and categorize their artwork into one of the genres, which may also encourage artists to push their creative limitations and produce new work, or simply dig through their portfolio for a piece that falls within the defined categories.

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