Artsolutely counts down to Christmas in North Okanagan

14th annual Vernon Community Arts Centre fundraiser underway daily until Dec. 24

An advent calendar of art is counting down the days until Christmas.

The Vernon Community Arts Centre presents the 14th annual Artsolutely, an annual fundraiser which runs for 24 days straight from Dec. 1 right through to Christmas Eve.

The Artsolutely market is a shopping extravaganza that fills two large studios and the front gallery space at the Arts Centre, which is located in the heart of Polson Park. Every piece of art is carefully handcrafted and locally made, and each artisan is selected through a jurying process to ensure the highest quality throughout. This year Artsolutely has 28 feature artisans with pottery, paintings, glass art, metalwork, photography, fibre arts, jewelry, natural products and a whole lot more. Plus new work arriving daily.

“Having been around arts and craft shows all my life, I always find this one to be the most inspiring,” said Gale Woodhouse, executive director of the Arts Council of the North Okanagan. “You’ll see things here that you won’t see anywhere else. For some artisans, this is the only show they do.”

Shopping at Artsolutely is an opportunity for people to show their community spirit and shop local. People can feel good knowing their purchases support local artists, small business, their local economy, and their Vernon Community Arts Centre. The Arts Centre, operated by ACNO, is a non-profit society and registered charity. Through this annual fundraiser, 20 per cent of proceeds go to programs like Joining Hands, a twice-weekly drop-in arts program for people with diverse abilities. Not only does this program provide an opportunity for people to build their artistic skills, but it offers a place for building connections with others and helps reduce isolation that many of the participants face. Funds raised also support kids art camps, allows the centre to host family friendly events for the citizens of Vernon, and helps the centre maintain the drop-in studio space where artists of all ages and abilities gather.

“The Arts Centre is more than a place to create,” said Sheri Kunzli, marketing and program manager for the VCAC and ACNO. “It’s a community space that offers a place for healing, growing, relieving stress, laughing, building friendships, and developing skills. Arts matter and we have the privilege of witnessing the ‘why’ that arts matter on a daily basis.”

While visiting the marketplace, guests are encouraged to take a tour of the centre and get inspired! Chat with the artists, explore the studios and discover Vernon’s hidden gem. While some newcomers to Vernon say they chose Vernon as their home because of the Arts Centre and what it offers, other long time locals have yet to discover the diamond in their backyard.

“This year we’ll be doing weekly prize draws, thanks to several generous community sponsors,” adds Kunzli. “Be sure to put your name in the draw box each time you come in for a visit.”

Artsolutely is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Christmas Eve hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

READ MORE: Prepare to be awed by Okanagan artists

READ MORE: Vernon artist waves women’s flag in Penticton


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