Westerner Days to feature Artistic Expressions pavilion

So long jams and jellies, hello eclectic art.

So long jams and jellies, hello eclectic art.

The Westerner Days Fair and Exhibition in Red Deer is saying goodbye to the arts and crafts pavilion of old, which has been losing submissions each year. No more potentially prize-winning preserves, sewing or knitting entries are needed.

Instead, the fair is calling on artists from across Western Canada to participate in the new Artistic Expressions pavilion.

It will feature an art gallery where paintings and sculptures can be purchased by the public. Artists can also lease entire sales booths for their work, and demonstration stations will be set up for wood and iron working, glassblowing, and other disciplines.

In the midst of all this, an entertainment stage will be set up for the performing arts, said Erin Gobolos, marketing and sponsorship manager for Westerner Park.

This means fairgoers can rest their feet for a while and watch some square dancing demonstrations, or previews of a Central Alberta Theatre melodrama, The Drunkard, which will be running at the Memorial Centre during the fair.

The idea behind Artistic Expressions is to foster an appreciation for all kinds of arts, as well as for the artistic community, said Gobolos, who noted that the general public also wanted to see more engaging artistic displays.

The Calgary Stampede and Edmonton’s Capital Ex have already gone in this direction “and it’s gone over very well,” she added.

Nobody really knows why interest was dropping in the age-old practise of displaying potentially prize-winning baking or sewing items at the fair.

But Gobolos said organizers would like to keep some aspects of domestic displays going. For instance, they are thinking of having a new gourmet cooking demonstration booth in the new pavilion.

Fair organizers believe the new format will be a hit with the public, as well as with regional artists, who can potentially have 90,000 visitors perusing their works.

Sales booths of various sizes can be leased for $430 to $525, (including every day entry to the fair, parking and power), or artists can choose to put their works in the gallery for an entry fee of $100 and 30 per cent commission for each piece sold.

Application fees are available online at westernerdays.ca/attractions/. For more information, call Alana Morgotch, marketing events and sponsorship co-ordinator at 403-309-0241.