GAC staff say 20th Annual Gabriola Studio Tour a resounding success

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, November 1 2016

The Gabriola Arts Council (GAC) is happy to report that the 20th Annual Studio Tour went phenomenally well. “We had a huge amount of off island visitors,” says Alina Cerminara, Events Manager for GAC. “Half were new as opposed to returning. The visitor feedback we got showed that everyone had a great time. The artists were welcoming, there was a high quality of work, and people had a great time going from studio to studio.”

Cerminara says from the visitors’ standpoint the numbers were higher than last year. New initiatives like the passport, which was inside the tour brochure for the first time, encouraged visitors to visit 20 studios and get 20 stamps to be entered to win a prize package. “People had fun getting stamps. The artists communicated even more because they could talk about the passport.”

From the artists’ standpoint, GAC has heard the artists were satisfied or extremely satisfied. Most saw high numbers on all three days. “Saturday was such a busy day, even though it was pouring rain,” says Cerminara. “Monday saw bigger purchases. Though Monday had lower numbers, sales were quite high as people sometimes need some time to think about a purchase and then they go back on the Monday.” 

Cerminara says artists tried to count how many people came to their studios. From Saturday, the highest number was 365 people and the lowest number was 22 people. On Sunday the numbers were 376 and 61, with Monday being 250 and 31.

A regular high would be about 200 to 250 visitors a day, and a regular low was about 100 a day,” says Cerminara. “Numbers are definitely up. Last year, we had about the same numbers but a little lower. It’s all very approximate.”

There were 60 studios on the tour this year and 81 artists compared with 58 studios last year. Cerminara said it’s difficult to compare numbers for the artists because last year they counted the artists that showed together as one artist.

“Every year there’s a lot of buzz around the tour. This year we had a lot more off island people coming for the tour who were seeing it on different media and different marketing efforts. Social media is a great way to connect and Nanaimo Tourism revamped their promotional efforts and included Gabriola in that.”

When asked about what makes the tour so special, Cerminara says, “Islanders can see what community members are doing. Visitors are welcomed into homes and spaces. It’s fall, a time that’s cozy and crisp, a romantic time. People are enjoying family, and for art lovers, they can truly appreciate a huge amount of varied artwork from tie-die, painting, woodwork and glass. There’s something for everyone. That’s why a whole range of people can enjoy the tour whether you have $1000 or $50 in your pocket.”

“Weather has no impact. It doesn’t normally affect the tour. So many people are ready with their maps. They’ve braved the rain. I had a goal of where I wanted to go on the Saturday. You don’t let a little rain get you down,” says Cerminara. At the tour meeting this past week, people were talking about not just promoting the tour as a weekend event but as a year round thing people can do. GAC would like to extend a thank you to everyone involved from the artists, visitors and sponsors, to the volunteers, slogging through rain to put up sandwich boards. “They’re incredible. Thanks to the community for getting involved and being a community that supports art and artists and making this Isle of the Arts such a great place to live for everyone else.”