Travel Blog

29 Jan

Insider Guide to Arts and Crafts, Whistler-style

TAG: Cultural Fix, Festivals Events

Posted by: Pip Campbell

Guest Author: Andrew Mitchell

In a few short months, the Audain Art Museum will open its doors in Whistler, sharing one of the largest and most important private art collections in Canada. While it may seem like a bit of a departure from the adrenaline-fueled recreation and all-night partying that Whistler is mostly known for, we’re also pretty serious about our arts and culture here.

Not only is Whistler home to over a dozen fine art galleries and countless fine artists, we’ve also managed to mix the arts into many of our biggest sporting events. Just try getting a ticket to the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown at this spring’s World Ski Snowboard Festival, or to the Deep Summer Photo Challenge during the Crankworx Freeride Mountain Bike Festival.

Arts and Sport
Whistler’s unique balance of arts and sport on show Left: Deep Summer Photo Challege, Crankworx. Right: State of the Art at WSSF PHOTOS Mike Crane

And because Whistler is all about skiing the mountains as well as appreciating the view, there’s a full list of hands-on opportunities available for getting tuned in to your creative side this winter. If you’re planning ahead for warmer months, stay tuned – we’ll post another round-up for the summer.

Hands-On Art

Whistler Arts Council

The Whistler Arts Council is the community’s go-to organizer of arts events and workshops, and offers a full calendar of drop-in classes to stimulate your right brain. For kids, the Art Adventures program is for ages 4 to 7, the Fine Art Sampler (painting, drawing, sculpting, collaging, mixed media) is for kids 8-12, and Brave Heart Journaling is for kids aged 10-16. There’s a Spring Break Theatre Arts Camp, and a Pro-D Day Photography Workshop. Current adult offerings include Figure Drawing sessions, Art Lab, Salsa/Bachata Dance, Argentine Tango, and Intuitive Art Journaling.

For more spontaneous art opportunities, check out the full selection of classes for kids, youth, adults, and Art Design on the Whistler Arts Council website. It’s an ever-changing array of awesome hands-on activities like learning guitar to photography to designing your own skateboard deck.

Arts Council Whistler Classes
Left: Creative process on show at a Whistler Arts Council Art Lab. Right: First Nations arts and culture live here PHOTO Mike Crane

Family Après

Through the winter, the Resort Municipality of Whistler holds Family Après events at Whistler Olympic Plaza every Monday and Wednesday from 3 PM – 6 PM in February and March. There are a wide range of activities for everyone, including arts and crafts.

Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre

First Nations arts and culture are one and the same, with every piece telling a story. Admission to the Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre includes a unique art project, like making your own drum or woodcraft – something you can take home that tells a tale and shares a memory. They also offer special workshops in drum-making, cedar and wool weaving, plus artists-in-residence on occasion.

Whistler Public Library

The Whistler Public Library offers a wide range of arts program for younger kids. It’s an interactive mix of reading and storytelling, crafts, music and movement all set in a virtual wonderland of books. Parents are often encouraged to join in the fun which makes it a family outing. To see what’s available during your visit, visit the library’s website.

Fathom Stone Art
Left: Create your own inukshuk at Fathom Stone Gallery. Right: Whistler Public Library offers a cozy space to read, write, draw and more. Mike Crane PHOTOS

Fathom Studio Art Classes

The Fathom Stone Art Gallery in the Hilton Resort and Spa building specializes in stone carvings and sculpture, and has a series of drop-in classes where participants can make stone pendants, inukshuks, bears and more. There is a charge for materials, but instruction is included to assist you create your own masterpiece. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in a craft for several hours and go home with a high-quality stone souvenir.

Eyes-On Art

If you’re more into art appreciation that arts and crafts fear not, we have a lot to offer those who prefer to peruse:

Art Galleries

Spread throughout Whistler Village and surrounds, Whistler’s fine art galleries offer a spectacular spread of works from local, national and internationally acclaimed artists in a wide range of genres. You can view the works at your leisure, purchase a piece and even see artists-in-residence at work.

The Pop-up Studio

On a temporary basis, the Whistler Arts Council has taken over a space in the Westin Resort Spa for the Pop-Up Studio, a shared arts space that provides a temporary home for several local fine artists. Open to the public during select hours on the weekend or whenever the doors are open, you are welcome to stop by and be inspired by working artists.

Whistler Pop Up Studio
Left: The Pop-Up Studio. Right: Whistler Contemporary Gallery in Art Gallery Row PHOTO Mike Crane

Out and About

Art is woven into the fabric of life here – keep your eyes open when you go for a coffee or a bite to eat as many of Whistler’s businesses collaborate with local artists to display their work on their walls.

Arts Culture Events

Last but not least. From exhibition launch parties, artisan markets and Art Throw Downs to big events like the Whistler Writers Festival, Whistler Film Festival and more – there’s always a cultural event around the corner to balance the thrills of outdoor adventure.

It’s a big year for arts and culture with The Audain Art Museum having its grand opening gala on March 4. For more information stop by and stay tuned to the blog for more arts news.

Audain Art Musuem Whistler
Architect’s rendition of the Audain Art Musum, opening early 2016. PHOTO: Audain Art Museum

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