Art and Garden Festival showcases local talent

Second annual event takes place on Saturday (July 22) and Sunday (July 23)

This year, the Pemberton Arts Council isn’t giving away any juicy details about its second annual Art and Garden Festival.

“It’s a bit of a surprise,” said Anne Crowley, co-vice chair of the arts council. “We find it’s more exciting that way. You don’t know where you’re going or who you’ll see. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

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The names of the artists and the gardeners might still be a secret, but the dates are not. The event is set for Saturday (July 22) and Sunday (July 23) and it’s going to follow the same format as it did last year. On Saturday, participants will meet at the Downtown Community Barn and tour five Pemberton gardens that have been matched with local artists who will also have their pieces on display. On Sunday, they’ll meet at Reid Road and Portage Road — the turn off to Mosquito Lake — for a tour of five artists on the route to Birken.

Both days start at 9:45 a.m. and include a lunch stop.

“Everyone is given a map — we try to encourage people to carpool — then we set off on our journey,” Crowley added. “We stay at each garden for an hour. That gives the tourists a chance to look (at the art and gardens) and talk to the artists and gardeners. Then we move on to the next garden.”

While last year’s event featured a fashion show at lunch, this year guests will enjoy a to-be-revealed singer-songwriter. What else is in store? “We have gardens (that range from) very sophisticated to gardens... surrounded by llamas and sheep and mountain views. It’s a variable day,” Crowley said.

Don’t let the picturesque views fool you; participants can also anticipate a fast-paced day. “Sometimes people would just like to sit in a garden and chill,” Crowley added. “There’s so much to see, we have a schedule where you move on to the next garden (quickly).”

The schedule also ensures that gardeners only have to host visitors for a bout an hour at a time — unlike the tour’s earlier version years ago in which participants were given a map and invited to check out the locations at any time.

Crowley and her team at the arts council approached each of the host gardeners to invite them to participate and, often, their response was humble. “One woman last year was like, ‘oh my garden?’ and it was just to die for,” she said. “People get so much pleasure and she, in turn, was really feeling the love from the people — and she was so happy to have her garden appreciated. It’s just like art; if your art is stored in your closet at home and nobody sees it, it’s a waste. These people’s gardens are a work of love and artistic creation.”

To that end, the event also helps showcase more traditional art as well. “I think that a lot of people signed up (last year), especially in Pemberton, for the gardens, but I think they were blown away by the artists,” Crowley said. “They don’t get a chance often to see the talent that lives in their community.”

Tickets for the Art and Garden tour are limited. Last year, the Pemberton tour sold out, but Crowley said she expects the Birken route to sell well this year too.

Tickets are $30 each and they’re available at One Earth in Pemberton, Our Glass Works Studio in Birken and online at pembertonartscouncil.com/event-2515750.

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