There might be more people shuffling around downtown tonight, thanks to a new initiative of the Picton BIA, the Third Thursday Arts Crawl.
Between the hours of 5-8 p.m. five participating galleries and arts spaces are keeping their doors open and encouraging the public to take a self-guided tour. The concept started in June with the opening of Hri Neil’s Carbon Art and Design gallery behind the County Canteen.
Picton BIA manager Sarah Doiron saw the concept working successfully in an Ottawa neighbourhood where she lived previously and thought it could be adapted to Prince Edward County, seeing the number of artists working here and the general appreciation for the arts engrained in the local population.
“It’s something that a lot of neighbourhoods do, including the one I lived in,” Doiron said. “It’s something I enjoyed personally that I thought had a great benefit for the community. Picton is the most walkable community in Prince Edward County and we have such a great artist base here.”
Tonight’s crawl will be an interesting way to gauge the appetite for the tour. The night Carbon opened was also the opening night for Art in the County, while Books & Company hosted a book launch for Chris Johns and Johnny C.Y. Lam’s book, A Taste of Prince Edward County. Last month, a lecture involving notable author David Frum at the Regent Theatre brought people downtown. Tonight, there might not be the same natural draw to Picton — though Carbon is premiering “Fields of Study,” a B.C. Sargeant solo exhibition from 6-10 p.m. There may also be some traffic, however, before a Prince Edward County Jazz Festival show at the Regent Theatre featuring Guido Basso.
After tonight, the BIA and the participating businesses — Carbon, Black Rhino Gallery, Artistic Inklings, Arts on Main, and the House of Falconer will evaluate the possibility of continuing the crawl into the shoulder season. Whether it is later this year or during the busy summer season in 2019, Doiron hopes the event will offer a chance for more businesses to get involved and potentially benefit from the added pedestrian traffic.
“Ideally, we’d like to get restaurants and other creative spaces involved,” she said. “So long as they are in walking distance from Main Street — anyone is welcome to participate.”
That future expansion could include tastings, live art demonstrations and performance art.
“This is kind of a pilot project and we’re going to build on it,” Doiron said.