In that short window after the last days of summer are over and the long winter sets in, Ontarians make the most of a long list of festivals, fairs and harvest activities. While art exhibitions are frequently events that are enjoyed indoors, outdoor art shows are a way to get the best of two worlds.
The Schomberg Street Gallery, presented by Arts Society King (ASK), is held in quaint Schomberg, a village of just 2,691 people located northwest of Richmond Hill and nestled in the rolling hills of King Township.
The event, in its 14th year, annually attracts thousands of art lovers. With a small-town vibe steeped in history and tradition, Schomberg is a wonderful backdrop for the event, which has a festival atmosphere in one of the few remaining classic village centres in Ontario.
People travelling to Schomberg, particularly up the 8th Concession, will appreciate breathtaking views where rolling hills are lined on either side by manicured horse farms, red barns and hay fields.
On Sept. 18, Main Street will be closed to traffic and lined by tents and booths so that pedestrians get full, easy access to artists, craftspeople and their work. Schomberg’s Main Street is dotted with preserved heritage homes from the 1800s.
The Schomberg Street Gallery is a juried exhibition and everything is for sale. There are musicians to serenade visitors as they stroll along the street and a children’s tent where families can create masterpieces to take home. A large mural will be set up for visitors to paint, part of King Township Public Art. Restaurants, cafés and country shops have also moved into some of the historical buildings.
“Life stood still for at least a year and a half [because of the pandemic]. It’s time to let the sun warm your face and the smiles of others warm your heart,” says Michele McNally, president of Arts Society King.
“People of all ages need to socialize. Bring your dog to the Street Gallery and meet your neighbours. See what new cafés have popped up since the last time you visited.”
People love to visit art galleries, but what makes the Schomberg Street Gallery that much more unique is it allows patrons to talk to the people making the art. It feels more like a festival than a gallery. People are more prone to ask questions and linger because of the open spaciousness of the outdoors. About 40 artists are expected this year and many art lovers return to the event every year to find new artists or to see what their favourite artist has been up to, McNally says.
“People love to hear what inspires the artists and why they created a piece a certain way, why they used specific materials and colours. Our visitors adore the vintage setting of Schomberg Main Street, which harks back to a simpler time. People can pick up a gentle landscape or a vibrant abstract for their home, or an arresting photograph, or jewellery, or perhaps just a souvenir of a wonderful afternoon. The Street Gallery is a destination day trip for any discerning art lover.”
Art lovers have many other options across the province this fall as well. The Studio Tour Haliburton Highlands is one of the largest and most successful studio tours in Ontario. It’s a driving tour that allows visitors to experience art first-hand, in the studios where it is created. The event features around 40 artists and 25 studios. The added benefit is the tour is held during the peak of fall colour season.
The Artisan Market in Dundas on Sept. 11 features all original art works – paintings, pottery, woodwork, glass work, photography and metal work – and is held at Dundas Driving Park. Like with Schomberg, admission is free.
Heading east to Picton, the Prince Edward County Studio Tour is another juried event held Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, and is one of the longest-running studio tours in the province.
Picasso once wrote: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Even if it’s for a day, Ontarians can get away for a celebration of arts and culture at outdoor art shows and festivals in their own backyards to engage with other enthusiasts and take home a piece or two of art that moves and inspires them.
In addition to the artists listed under the photos above, this year’s event will also feature works from: Dina Artman; Winnie Chen; Claustro; ‘Dubi’ Adubi Akinola; Sherry Dube; Andrea Elmhirst; Kimberly Grant; Donna Greenstein; Michelle Hudson; Ileen Kohn; Janna Kozoub; Brittany Lauren; Shannon Lively; Virginia May; Veronica Meloche; Loraine Mohar, Iryna Molodecky; Mary Morganelli; Dominic Petrungaro; Kathleen Potter; Anne Reimer; Michele Rose; Josee Savaria; Vienna Sbergio; Manuela Stefan; Yoshiaki Tanaka; Gabrielle Tasse; Lyudmila Thomas; Mona Verga; Yingyue (Kitty) Wang; Lynn Wilson; Darlene Winfield.
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