Armstrong gets ready to celebrate the arts May 31

Get ready for an art-filled day in Armstrong with a free event for families that showcases creativity and an evening "taste" of art.

Get ready for an art-filled day in Armstrong.

The Armstrong Spallumcheen Arts Council Society (SPARC) is hosting the inaugural Spring Celebration of the Arts, a free event that takes place Saturday, May 31  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the old part of Armstrong, between the Armstrong Towne Square on Pleasant Valley Boulevard and Wood Avenue.

“We are building community through creativity,” said SPARC chairperson Reg Kienast “It is a logical process to creativity and we want to share that.”

The event will feature workshop areas and art activities for young people and families, including felting, scarecrow making, clay creations and much more.

“This is a chance for everyone to have a learning and artist experience,” said Kienast. “Working artists will be doing demonstrations. The idea behind it is the community of non-artists get to see and appreciate the skills and the tools and the creative process that happen behind the piece of finished art.”

Some of the artists participating in the event include Vernon potter Gale Woodhouse, Coldstream weaver Eileen Nichol, blacksmith Mick Harms, felting with Cathy Stubington and Molly March, luthier Trevor Kronbauer, mixed media artist Debbie Merkel, ornamental blacksmith Doug Alcock, engraver Warren Smith and several others.

In addition, SPARC is welcoming participants to add their artistic touch to a donated piano that will be turned into an artistic piece for the garden or home.

“Anyone can paint the piano, which will have flowerpots on top so it can be used as a garden sculpture,” said Kienast. “It will be auctioned off in a silent auction afterwards.”

Young people will also be doing chalk art circles on the street, which anyone can partake in.

The event also features music and a magic show at the Armstrong Towne Centre Mall throughout the day.

All events are free, however, donations will be accepted to the Armstrong Food Bank, Kindale, and the Boys and Girls Club.

Those wanting more of a taste for art can also check out SPARC and the Armstrong Food Initiative’s new spring event, A Taste for Art in Armstrong, celebrating art, music, food and beverage Saturday, May 31 from 4 to 8 p.m.

The event will be a walking tour to downtown Armstrong businesses where artists, musicians, chefs, brewers, vintners and distillers will be showcasing their work and wares.

Eighteen artists from in and around the community will be part of the event, including Enderby sculptor Howard Brown, who will be at Shepherd’s Home Hardware and Garden Centre. Other artists working in clay, stone, metal, felting, weaving, glass, wood and more will be demonstrating their techniques and showing their work at other businesses around town, said Andrea Gunner with the Armstrong Food Initiative.

“One of the most exciting things for me is (Métis artist) Dennis Weber is going to be at the art gallery painting on the last day of his exhibition. He’s going to show his techniques,” she said.

The event is open to the public, however,  those wishing to sample the food and beverages will need to purchase a ticket.

“We’re going to have food tasting, along with beer from Okanagan Spring and a couple of wineries and a distillery as well,” said Gunner.

Those wishing to take a stroll to see the sights can do so for free, however, donations will be accepted to the Armstrong Food Bank and the Kindale Developmental Association.

The event will take place in the old part of downtown Armstrong from Bridge Street along Pleasant Valley Boulevard up to Shepherd’s Home Hardware and Garden Centre, and on the other side of the boulevard and along Okanagan Street.

“It’s a nice walking tour. People can take in all of it or just part of it,” said Gunner.

In addition, the Blue Hotel and the Branding Iron Pub will have dinner specials and live music. Those who purchase the $15 ticket will receive a ballot to vote for the People’s Choice Artist Award and People’s Choice Music Award, which are sponsored by the Blue Hotel and Shepherd’s Home Hardware.

Those who submit a ballot can also win a draw basket, said Gunner.

Tickets are now available at Shepherd’s Home Hardware and Garden Centre, Chocoliro, and at the Wild Oak Café, all in downtown Armstrong, They can also be purchased online at Tickets will also be sold at the Armstrong Farmer’s Market on May 24. Tickets go to $25 on Saturday, May 31 and will be sold for that price at the farmer’s market on the day of the event.

More information is available at