This quartet of artists is among the 30 artists who have virtually opened their studios to audiences as part of the 2021 Virtual Artist Tour organized by the ArtSea Community Arts Council. (Screencap)

This quartet of artists is among the 30 artists who have virtually opened their studios to audiences as part of the 2021 Virtual Artist Tour organized by the ArtSea Community Arts Council. (Screencap)

Saanich Peninsula artists welcome audiences to a virtual tour of their studios

30 artists are part of the 2021 Virtual Artist Tour organized by the ArtSea Community Arts Council

For the second year in a row, a popular tour of local artists’ studios has moved online.

While Wendy Picken, lead for 2021 Virtual Artist Tour organized by the ArtSea Community Arts Council, expressed disappointment in having to move the event online, she also sees the positives.

“Of course, we are grateful for the support, but it will be nice if we can do the studio tours in person again,” she said. “Everybody is missing that contact with the public.”

This said, the virtual format also offers audiences access that they would not have otherwise had.

Before COVID, ArtSea would organize a spring and fall tour, with audiences self-guiding themselves with the assistance of a map and some background information. These days, they can watch 30 videos from this year’s group of artists and 30 from last year’s group of artists from the comfort of their homes. While these videos, each some three minutes long, are not interactive, they nonetheless offer information and insights about the artists and their works not easily gleaned, Picken said.

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“It actually allows the viewing public… to see the artists talk about their work, talk about their background,” she said. “It’s a very intimate introduction that you are getting that you would not necessarily get by following a map and a little tiny blurb.”

Picken acknowledged the face-to-face interaction is missing. “But at the same time, there are lots of artists who are, of course, still producing and they have beautiful work to show.”

Those interested can still reach out to the artists and tour their studios if they saw something that they liked because the videos include contact information, said Picken.

Most of the artists are local and all of them are members of ArtSea, who like last year, hired student Tori Jones to film and edit the videos over the summer. If artists had done this sort of video promotion on their own (rather than through their ArtSea memberships), they might have been looking at a cost of $1,000 each, said Picken.

“It (the tour) is invaluable to the artists, because a lot of them right now are struggling to have income,” she said.

For more information, see https://artsea.ca/calendar/virtual-artist-tour/.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com