Gabriolans take indie-market to Nanaimo Art Gallery

Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Sounder News

Wednesday, December 26 2012

The Drift Indie Art Market and Show held at the downtown Nanaimo Art Gallery proved to be highly successful with high sales and traffic.
The inaugural market showcased the art and wares of 30 Vancouver Island and Gulf Island artists, 18 of which were from Gabriola, and ran Dec. 14-16.
Mariko Paterson McCrae, a ceramic artist at Feedlot Studios on Gabriola and co-organizer of Drift, said “it was absolutely packed to the gills on Friday evening and consistently crowded all weekend long and ‘til the bitter end on Sunday.”
Sales over 15 hours of business were in excess of $26,000, she said, not including NAG’s shop sales.
“We really prided ourselves on sticking to the “indie” model of art that is trending heavily in the U.S. and larger Canadian cities.... We kept out scope pretty tight.”
Nina Turczyn of Paprika Design, who does graphic design, illustration and jewellery, was pleased with sales given the small size of the show and the fact that it was the first year.
“It was the first of its kind for this area, and I think the public recognized that and were happy to support.
“There are a lot of cheesy shows that aren’t the best venues for showcasing your work in an artistic and professional way. I think Drift has done it all properly, and is just what Nanaimo and Gabriola needs to boost the indie art scene.”
Dan Bergeron of Illuminati Glassworks said he and partner Jim Heeks were also happy with sales and the overall atmosphere.
“The general feedback was very positive. People spoke of the fun energy in the place and the great mix of work on display.”
While Gabriola artists were the majority of vendors, Mariko said the purpose of the show was not to highlight Gabriola.
“Once we leave the island with our wares and disperse amongst our creative peers, the Gabriola title is not the most crucial part of securing a sale,” but rather the quality of the art. Mariko, Nina, Dan and Jim said many attendees were interested that they were from Gabriola, but it wasn’t necessarily a huge selling point.
Julie Bevan, executive/artistic director for NAG, said Drift was the gallery’s busiest weekend of the year, with nearly 1,000 visitors browsing, buying and mingling. “It was a show unlike any other in Nanaimo and generated a fantastic buzz,” she added.
“We look forward to more collaboration, more people and more art.”
Mariko is happy to report that Drift will be happening again next year. “Julie Bevan, who took a brave, brave chance on me and my Drift ideas, saw the value added benefit of getting a younger, art loving crowd in and the value of gaining their future patronage. It was a win, win situation.”