The Friends of the Gallery (FOG) Show at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre opens Jan. 3. The annual event is open to all members of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council and has become a highlight on the Arts Centre calendar. “It’s a real social event,” says Nell Burns, co-chair of the Council Board. “People drop off their pieces and a few hours later they’re still in the gallery catching up with people.” While the exhibit opens on Jan. 3, works are collected on “intake day,” which this year is Dec. 31 between the hours of 10am-12:30pm. There are only two criteria prospective artists must meet: the work must have been produced in 2017 and they must be current members of the gallery. Memberships can be purchased on intake day and range from $25 for seniors, $30 for individuals and $35 for families. The Council has approximately 400 members, with a quarter of those usually submitting works to the FOG show. “We had to restrict the size [of eligible pieces] starting in 2016 in order to accommodate the number of people participating,” says Burns, noting that while works in all mediums are welcome, the majority of submissions are paintings. Artists are also limited to one piece of work.
Once all the works have been received, Ian MacLeod, fellow Council Board member, will curate the show, deciding how to place the works to best advantage while Burns will produce the labels. Burns acknowledges that both tasks can be challenging, but “It was a great introduction for me. It’s been a great way to learn about artists on the Coast.” Since moving to the Sechelt just over two years ago, Burns has been submitting to the FOG show. “There’s a community there and it’s nice to be part of that and be part of the crew at the opening,” she says. The show draws interest from artists early in their career as well as more established ones, who sometimes use the show to experiment with a different medium, or to debut a new style or technique to gauge audience reaction. “The show is a great opportunity to showcase the range of talent from beginners to very accomplished artists that we have here on the Coast,” explains Burns. “A lot of artists are not ready to do a solo show. Some are just starting to branch out into exhibiting. It’s community building.”
Anyone wishing to submit to the 2018 FOG show should visit the Council website for complete information and to download the submission form: sunshinecoastartscouncil.com. Works should be dropped off at the gallery Dec. 31 between 10am and 12:30pm. The Friends of the Gallery Show runs at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre Jan. 3-28, with the opening reception on Jan. 7, 2-4pm. All welcome.