From the ground, up 

Artists take initiative; organize shows to get underground artwork into public eye

click to enlarge Give a Hoot Mueller's artwork will be on display alongside other local artists during the Transition Art Show
  • Give a Hoot Mueller's artwork will be on display alongside other local artists during the Transition Art Show

What: Transition Art Show

When: Thursday, Aug. 28, 7 p.m., until Aug. 31.

Where: Former dollar store (behind Marketplace)

Admission: Free

While many artistic souls in Whistler wield paintbrushes, pencils and other implements to create masterpieces, not all of this work ends up in galleries around town. In fact, it seems that much locally produced artwork needs a place to call home, or at least a place to be shown.

At the Whistler Arts Council’s artists’ meeting held back in May, the resounding consensus of local artists seemed to be that there is a lack of studio and exhibition space available in town. Now, one local artist is organizing a four-day exhibition, entitled Transition Art Show, which features the work of Whistler area artists.

The woman behind the new show is Andrea Mueller, an acrylic painter and silkscreen printmaker who studied at the Ontario College of Art before moving to Whistler four years ago. She noticed that underground artists trying to establish themselves seem to have trouble finding events where they can exhibit their work.

“The arts council, I’ve found, does a really good job, but a lot of the times I was just finding that people who are more up-and-coming have trouble showing in the middle of town,” Mueller explained.

While she’s been toying with the idea of an art show for a while, it wasn’t until about three weeks ago that it became a reality.

“We’ve been talking about it amongst ourselves for quite a while,” Mueller explained. “We want to have more shows, we want to have more free shows where we don’t have to pay to be in them, and we just kind of want more exposure for local artists.”

Mueller took a shot in the dark and called realtor Allan Jenner about an empty retail space she spied behind Marketplace — the old Dollar Store, which closed a few months ago.

“I had looked at another place that was for lease and thought that it might be a good space to showcase some art, just because the space is already up for lease; no one is in it,” Mueller said. “Instead of it sitting empty, why not use it to host a local art show for local artists?”

Jenner contacted the owner of the space, Don Wensley, who generously agreed to donate the space for the show.

“They were actually really excited about it… which is great,” Mueller said. “They just think it will draw some attention to that space, as it is for lease… and they’re just happy to have something in there, and were really excited to have it actually be an art show and support local arts.”

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