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  • Bridge Studio Crawl, COVID-style

    Leslie Campbell

    A wealth of artist demos and gallery tours, all online, aim at fostering creativity and community.


    A DAY AFTER stringent new COVID measures were announced by Dr Bonnie Henry on November 19, the Bridge Crawl planning team at Arc.Hive Artist Run Centre were feeling both relieved and excited. Relieved because when they had started planning the multi-venue/multi-artist event last spring, they decided to incorporate a lot of digital components into it, just in case COVID-19 was not behind us by the fall. And they were excited because only some fine-tuning to keep everything safe was needed before the event launched—the weekend of November 21. Some venues may still be able to welcome visitors (watch for updates on the website), but even if not, there’s a wealth of artistic exuberance to keep us entertained and inspired online.

    Nine venues and 34 artists, all in the Rock Bay/Vic West area are taking part in this collaborative project spear-headed by the gallery coordinators and board of Arc.Hive. The exhibits and artist demonstrations are all beautifully videotaped and online. Regan Rasmussen, one of the planning team members and a co-gallery coordinator with Arc.Hive, says, grants from the CRD and City of Victoria allowed them to hire Efren Quiroz. “Efren was our videographer for over 35 videos; he had been generously doing it gratis as Exhibit-V for over 15 years,” says Laura Feeleus, one of the other gallery coordinators at Arc.Hive.



    Efren Quiroz (l) making a video of Dominique Chapheau demonstrating making a monoprint. 

    Photo by Laura Feeleus.


    The videos of artist demos, interviews and encouragement to post our own creations help with the event’s missions of connecting art to community and nurturing the artist within us all.

    In ten short-length videos, talented artists demonstrate their process, often ones that can be done without much equipment.

    In one demo, we see artist Tara Howarth show us how to make cool images through the simple process of graphite rubbings of everything from CDs to keys and leaves. By moving the item around under the paper and adding colours, she shows how to create interesting patterns.



    Other videos feature demonstrations of the processes involved in linoprints and monoprints, along with colour mixing, book binding, and how to choose a mother colour for a painting.

    Each of the 8 venues is also hosting an exhibit—or two. And for each of these there are explanatory tours of the exhibit online. At Victoria Arts Centre, for instance, we can see some of the “4 Perspectives” exhibit of the artists in the Garth Homer Artworks program. Both 3 and 2-dimension works are featured.

    In a video for the Ministry of Casual Living, artist Zola Well, who is exhibiting, shows us how to create a “messy” monotype using simple materials. True to the mission of this gallery, she encourages experimentation and integrating art into everyday life—and having fun doing it.



    The Arc.Hive exhibit features video interviews with all their artists as well as with Connie Michele Morey about her exhibit of large-scale photographs—“Natural Agents”—which challenge the colonial fantasy of terra nullius (empty land) by highlighting the abundance and interdependence of all life forms as sentient agents.

    Rasmussen sees the Bridge Crawl as an intergenerational event that will be a legacy for the community, because there is such a rich assortment of artistic expression available through its online offerings. And that includes the artistic work of the public who are encouraged to share their own creations. “Bring out your inner artists,” says Rasmussen. “Post your creations with the hashtag #makewithusyyj and it will be added to our community collection.” You can view these community offerings on the website as well.



    The organizing team and its partners seem to have succeeded in showing how the arts can continue to bring some light and joy into the community, even in these COVID times.

    To view and participate, go to https://arc-hivearc.org and press “Bridge Crawl.” Participating venues include arc.hive Artist Run Centre, Ministry of Casual Living, errant artSpace, Xchanges Gallery, Victoria Arts Council and Ground Zero, as well as the Rock Bay Square studios, Cecelia Press Studio and Print9604.

    Leslie Campbell is the editor of Focus.

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