Call to artists: see your work in lights

Whistler Arts Council and the municipality are seeking art for their Gobo 3.0 project

During the 2010 Olympics, the Whistler Arts Council collected paintings, blew them up and projected them on the side of Whistler Mountain.

The unusual canvas was a hit with crowds that gathered nightly for the Fire and Ice show. "It was so cool because it was so dark up there and then you have a huge 'canvas' going up the mountain with huge images portrayed," said Doti Niedermayer, executive director of WAC. "I personally thought it was an amazing bang for the buck."

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Now, the arts council, in conjunction with the Resort Municipality of Whistler, is reviving the art form as part of the Village 3.0 project to enhance neighbourhoods in the Village. Dubbed Gobo 3.0 (the slides are called gobos), project organizers are hoping to collect a few more submissions from artists across Canada before the deadline on March 7. "The submission can be in any medium," Niedermayer said. "The painting or photograph or whatever it is gets etched onto a plate. It's kind of like looking through a kaleidoscope."

The idea to bring back the light projections came about as the Village 3.0 committee was surveying the area around Millennium Place - home to the arts council - and trying to figure out how to make it more appealing. When the group saw Millennium Place's large, blank wall facing village stroll, they wondered if it was wasted space. "It's a big, brick wall that has this really old VANOC 2010 banner on it," Niedermayer said. "Someone came up with the idea, 'Let's project light onto it, so at night it lights up and it's not just a boring, old banner."

Andrea Mueller, who works for WAC, suggested skipping generic images of snowflakes and, instead, using pieces from artists across Canada - from poems to abstract art, photos or digital art.

A selection committee will choose five pieces - they can be all from the same artist or from up to five different artists - to be displayed on a rotating basis. "We've got a few submissions, mostly from the Lower Mainland, but we could use a lot more," Niedermayer said. "It's open to artists across Canada, so we sent the call for entry far and wide."

If the project is successful, the arts council could put out another call to collect more art for the slides. "It could be limitless," Niedermayer said. "If you've got a great selection of gobos, they can rotate out seasonally, daily or thematically. People have done incredible things with these gobos. We're just starting really small."

Submissions can be any medium, but must be sent in as a jpeg (max 2 MB). They don't have to be new pieces of work. While the subject matter is wide open, it has to be suitable for a public space. Artists who are chosen will receive credit, as well as $400 per slide. To submit, visit artswhistler.com.

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