Although a Google search for “plein air painters in <city>” is a great starting point for finding artists along my route, good old-fashioned networking is what really pays off. Edward Epp popped up as a Prince Rupert artist, but, unfortunately for me, he has relocated the Victoria area (which is also a fantastic spot to live). He was kind enough to connect me with Susann Williamson, the glass artist and community organizer who opened Mountainside Gallery last year. Much more than a venue to display her own work, it represents many Canadian and First Nations artists from Northern BC. In the midst of getting ready for a big spring event, Susann took the time to connect me with other area artists.
I was sorry to miss Susann’s most recent event. The 3rd Annual Spring Studio Tour featured “over 50 artists and guest artists at 14 locations showing off work spaces, art projects and skills.” A tireless organizer, she’s now developing Terrace’s first juried art show to be held this summer. We talked about the OPAS competition that I co-hosted last fall, and I shared some of my notes from the Umbrella Group meeting at the Monterey Plein Air Convention. The Umbrella Group was attended by about 60 art event planners and gallery owners interested in sharing ideas about hosting art events.
Raised in Toronto and retired from a business career, Susann traveled all over Canada looking for the perfect place to live and landed here for good. Defining herself as a “Terrace Booster”, she actively promotes both the arts community and BC tourism. Her shop reflects a desire to inclusively represent many types of art, and she beams, “I know all my artists and clients personally—we’re like family.”
Although Terrace is a small community of only 11,500 people, according to Susann it is home to more than 50 active artists! I talked with Joerg Jung outside the gallery as he put finishing touches on RCMBeaver, his sculpture for the Spring Studio Tour. Perhaps like many other Terrace artists, Joerg, who is from Germany, said that he came to Terrace 3 years ago on vacation and never left. Although he competes in carving events across Europe and Canada, he said that what attracted him to Terrace is the beautiful scenery and community.
After a couple of wonderful days here, I was sad that I couldn’t stay in Terrace a bit longer myself!