As February arrives, the bustle and warmth of the holiday season have past and winter has well and truly settled in. Spring may still feel like a long way off, but St. Thomas has something exciting upcoming that is a little closer on the horizon. The Railway City Arts Crawl is the perfect reason to bundle up and head out into the community February 23rd and 24th!
The popular winter celebration of local arts and culture is back for its fifth year and invites people to explore sixteen St. Thomas venues featuring painters, sculptures, weavers, potters, photographers, installation, culinary, and performance artists among others.
FREE event passports are available at participating venues to assist crawlers to locate the venues and artist they'd like to explore over the two-day event. It's a wonderful opportunity to engage with local artists while exploring the city and expanding awareness of the creative community that is thriving in St. Thomas.
Laura Woermke, Executive Director of the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, believes that the Arts Crawl "is a great opportunity to continue what we do every day in our community", which is to encourage and support the practice of visual arts in St. Thomas and Elgin.
"This year the Art Centre is featuring 400 works from young student artists in our 'Great Beginnings' exhibit in the Main Gallery. It's a wonderful and pure example of the joy of creating", something the Arts Crawl is all about. Gallery Three will feature the final project of a partnership between Artist in Residence, Will Graham, and 70 grade seven students from Southwold Public School.
The beauty of the Arts Crawl is that is highlights talented artists who create in a variety of mediums and styles. It truly is a celebration of creativity and building connections within the community.
'Being a part of the Arts Crawl as an artist from year one, I have seen venues and artists grow in numbers and talent. The fact that we all get together to celebrate the huge art culture we have in this city is so amazing. I look forward to this event every year!'
- Chris Cherry
'I love meeting all the people who come out to support us! As artists, we spend a lot of time working solo in the studio and being able to meet and connect with the public is great!'
- Elizabeth Kusinski
'As an artist, I feel so lucky to have this event. It gives us a chance to show our rat and feel supported by all the people who come out to the Arts Crawl'
- Kat Medlyn
For many people who make and enjoy art, it's therapeutic.
'I use my craft as therapy and do it for no other reason than it is good for my soul.'
- Steve Fryer
'We are so excited to be a host this year! Art is healing and we wish to have a healthy community.'
-Heather Franklin, Destination Church
The youngest artist on the crawl is Zayden Ward. At only eight years old he sees the crawl as important in bringing people together and likes knowing that his art hangs in people's homes bringing beauty to their worlds. He would like to see people of all ages come out to experience the crawl, and perhaps be inspired to create their own. Zayden calls art a gift - wording it in such a way that implies a dual meaning - a gift to create and a gift to give and receive.
As part of the event, the STEAM Centre will host a feature art show celebrating the intersection between art and technology through immersive art installations, maker space demonstrations and interactive activities. Connecting to the railway history of St. Thomas, where trains intersected bringing diverse art and culture, the show features artists from New York, Toronto, and Hamilton with roots and exhibition histories from across the globe.
The STEAM Centre is also hosting the FREE after party on February 24 at 6 pm to connect with the growing creative community in St. Thomas. The event will feature Soul and Funk beats spun by DJBlueEyez. Local food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will be available for purchase.
Crawlers visiting 10 or more venues can submit their completed passports to the Railway City Tourism office in person or by taking a photo and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org before March 16 for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Some prizes will be drawn at the FREE after party on February 24 so get your passport in before 5 pm February 24 or bring it to the party for the chance at the most prizes.
Friday, February 23: Crawl from 6 pm - 9 pm
Saturday, February 24: Crawl from 11 am - 5 pm
Saturday, February 24: After Party 6 pm at STEAM Centre (50 Wellington St.)
For more information, visit www.railwaycityartscrawl.com
Artists featured: Joel Berry, Susan Boldt, Laura Woermke, Elizabeth Kusinski, and Jason Boldt