Vanderhoof’s Anonymous Art Show aims to go Canada-wide next year

Art exhibit at the Vanderhoof Public Library for the Anonymous Art Show. (Photo submitted by Magdalena Saito)
Artists of all ages submitted to the second annual Anonymous Art Show. (Photo submitted by Magdalena Saito)

The Anonymous Art Show in it’s second year is gaining popularity across the province. The show received 136 pieces this year from artists in Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Edmonton, Vancouver Island and the organizer said her vision is to get participants from across Canada.

The art show is organized by Nechako Community Arts Council’s Magdalena Saito, who started the Anonymous Art Show to recognize talent in and around the region.

Interestingly, communities like Ashcroft have organized an Anonymous Art Show with the organizer saying she got the idea from Vanderhoof.

This year with COVID-19 in the picture, the show went virtual. Bids were held on a Facebook page called NCAC – Anonymous Art Show – Vanderhoof.

Interested members of the public bid on the art pieces until 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21 and the winning bids have been announced on Facebook itself.

“It is wonderful seeing the art grow, and the artists as well. There were a lot of youth who participated, and you can see them growing year-to-year. The future holds such exciting things to look forward to, as we get exposed to a larger variety of art and artists,” Saito said.

There was a lot of mixed media submitted to the show this year, which included not only paintings, but also casting, rock painting, bubble wrap, three-dimensional drawings and sculpture.

“It’s inspirational to see the variety of imagination and creations that people are capable of from different styles of paintings to the different mediums used,” she said.

Saito said the local arts council are also looking at creating a photo book of the show, which will include the artists and would act as a time capsule of the annual event.

“This yearly book will help us see artists grow and change, but will also help advertise their websites and work,” she said.

“Personally, I would love to see the art show become Canada-wide in a small town like Vanderhoof, and then become a travelling show which will allow us to explore Canadian art locally. This will also help us to share our local art across the country.”

Nechako Community Arts Council partnered with local businesses such as Bird On A Wire Media & More, Wallace Studios, Dollar Store and the Integris Credit Union, for pick-up and drop-off of canvasses.

“This year we did online bidding which was very new and next year I would love to see another online bidding, more artists, a travelling show from town-to-town up in the North, which will create a sense of artistic community throughout the north, in the hear of Vanderhoof,” Saito said.

She said the arts council hopes that businesses across town buy some of the art pieces to display, so an art walk could be organized in the future for tourists and residents to explore.

Corrie Wilkinson, a participant at the art show said,”I was lucky enough to be introduced to Maggie by our son and daughter-in-law. From there we talked about her upcoming art show and it caught my attention.”

“I have always been a maker, never thinking of anything I do as art, it was just a way of life for me. This art show has been a fantastic experience. Have it online was fun in itself. Watching the bidding, hoping someone would give your art piece a forever home. Even though there were a lot of hurdles because of COVID, Maggie did an amazing job at finding solutions.”

Another participant Jackie VanZandbeek said, “The Anonymous Art Show is excellent! It’s a great way to explore other artists and it’s fun to be behind the scenes seeing different reactions to all the art being displayed not only that, but everyone’s art is shown to different communities, countries and cultures. It’s been a wonderful experience all around. I’m looking forward to next year!

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