Are you afraid of the art?

Local galleries are gearing up to flip the switch on the Kingston arts community with their annual interactive tour Art After Dark

Jewelry, sculpture and large scale paintings are a small selection of the multitude of media presented at participating galleries.
Jewelry, sculpture and large scale paintings are a small selection of the multitude of media presented at participating galleries.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

The art scene in Kingston is about to get a little darker. This year’s Art After Dark gallery tour, while weeks away, is rapidly becoming one of the most highly anticipated summer events for showcasing new art in the Limestone city.

“It’s really great the galleries are co-ordinating an event together,” Cornerstone gallery owner Ellen Fraser told me. “Anything that encourages people to get out and stroll around to see all the new pieces being offered.”

The tour puts a new spin on the familiar walk down Princess St. by showcasing 14 of the city’s galleries and artistic outlets. As the event becomes more established each year, gallery owners have been eager to jump on board and are able to participate by putting themselves forward.

By opening their doors, galleries hope to invite guests from a wider demographic making the experience an interactive and informative one.

Though residents and local art collective affiliates are always tuned into the constant and thriving scene here, oftentimes exciting talent and opportunities for new members to take part are overlooked.

“Kingston really has a lot of talent in every area,” Jamieson gallery artist and owner Jacqueline Jamieson said. “Our downtown is having a little difficulty and this is a really great way to draw people in.”

A previous participant in the tour, Jamieson said she kept the event in mind when selecting watercolour aficionado Barbara O’Loughlin and late cartoonist Alfie Gillies as two artists highlighted in the upcoming month.

A wide range of talent is set to display making the boundaries limitless for various types of media owners and curators who have chosen to exhibit. Enthusiasts can expect a range of sculpture, painting, drawing, jewelry, pottery and glass peppering their visit to each gallery.

Showcasing home grown talent is the mandate for many of the spaces, some using the tour to push the limits of what might typically be shown.

“It’s always a great party year after year and a good way to represent some of the more artistic work of the local artists,” artist and Kingston Glass Studio and Gallery employee Cheryl Dunsmore said. “Usually our stuff is a little more functional so we get to have some fun with it.”

Fun is a prevalent theme in Art After Dark and all involved stressed the importance of relishing in a treasured event that brings a multitude of artistic types out from the woodwork.

“I’ve always attended in the past few years simply because it’s such a fun event and simultaneously a great opportunity to see what’s happening in art here,” Patrick McNeill said.

With his opening of the new Wellington Street Art Gallery, he said the decision to participate in the festival was two-fold.

“This particular year is great timing for us since it’s a good way for me to introduce the artists in the gallery to the community … I’m showcasing everybody and they’re all local, contemporary and abstract from custom work to acrylics”

With a three-floor space and various multimedia installments, McNeill was enthusiastic about the direction the tour has taken recently.

“It’s an event that helps build the community culturally and gets people excited about the visual art in particular,” he said. “It’s become sort of a Nuit Blanche kind of thing, everyone’s in a good mood and very excited to be hopping from gallery to gallery.”

Whether uncovering a diamond in the rough or revisiting familiar favourites, Art After Dark will undoubtedly offer inventive illumination on new and old galleries alike—not to mention the always welcomed chance to rub elbows with some local talent.

Art After Dark downtown Kingston galleries tour is Thurs. May 27 from 7 to 10 p.m.

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