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Time to Paint the Town: Annapolis Royal ready to celebrate 22nd year of art festival

Artist Wayne Boucher smiles for the camera while creating a piece of art for Paint the Town in 2015.
Artist Wayne Boucher smiles for the camera while creating a piece of art for Paint the Town in 2015.

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, NS - Artists from throughout Nova Scotia and beyond will be setting up their easels and work tables throughout the historic Town of Annapolis Royal on Aug. 19 and 20 for the 22nd annual Annapolis Region Community Arts Council’s (ARCAC) Paint the Town event.

Painters, sculptures and carvers will be among the 84 artists participating this year, said event spokesperson Sophie Paskins.

“Artists can be found on the boardwalk, the wharf, at Fort Anne and the Historic Gardens,” as well as other locations around town, she said.

Artists Tom and Monica Forrestall pose with their paintings and family members at Fort Anne, during the 2015 Paint the Town.

Among the favourite artists who make Paint the Town a regular stop each summer are Tom Forrestall, Rose Adams, Wayne Boucher and Geoff Butler, said Paskins. Also on this year’s list of attendees are Creative N.S. Established Artist 2016 award winner Bonnie Baker; Terri Drahos; Tootsie Emin; Barbara McLean and Zehava Power, as well as many new up and coming artists.

As works are completed, some as early as 10 a.m., volunteer runners from the ARCAC collect and deliver them to the event’s temporary art gallery at the Academy Gym (formerly the Annapolis Royal Regional Academy) at 590 St. George Street, where it will be offered for sale either with a “buy it now” price until 5 p.m. or by silent auction bids, which are accepted throughout the day. Bidding closes at 6 p.m. sharp. Patrons can register for a bid number online until Aug. 16, or in person on Aug. 19 and 20 at the front desk in the lobby. There are silent auctions both days during the Paint the Town event.

Artist Michel Doucet paints a monument at Fort Anne during the 2015 Paint the Town in Annapolis Royal.

Big fundraiser

Paint the Town was started 22 years ago by ARCAC member Carole Milligan and local artist Louise Williams as a fundraising event that would help sustain the organization, as well as benefit participating artists. Sales from the auction are split 50/50 between the ARCAC and the artists.

“We typically bring in gross sales of between $32,000 to $43,000,” said Paskins. “The arts council nets around $14,000 to $16,000 after expenses and paying the artists their share.”

Paint the Town has grown from 25 artists in 1990 to 84 this year. It is a highlight of the summer season in Annapolis Royal, she said.

Artist James Lightie works on a project on the Annapolis Royal waterfront during the 2015 Paint the Town.

“Over the course of the weekend, we attract approximately 1,100 visitors,” said Paskins. “The bed and breakfasts are usually booked up, the restaurants full and the town is generally hopping over that weekend. I have people call me early in the year to check dates so they can base their vacation around attending the event.”

 The call for artists goes out in May and is usually filled up by the end of June, said Paskins, noting the show goes on regardless of the weather. In 2009, artists took shelter on porches and covered patios and continued to work through hurricane Bill, notes the event website.

Upwards of 75 volunteers help out with the annual event. The auction is free to attend.

Go online: For more details, visit the ARCAC website at http://arcac-artsplace.weebly.com

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