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Arts show raises the bar, says organizer

By Joseph Quigley

The 20th Annual Arts in the County Show is raising the bar, said a spokesperson for the event this week.

Tara Wilkinson, communications co-ordinator for the event, and Paul Ross, one of the new artists-in-residence for the show, are both excited for what they think is a very prestigious event. The show will take place from June 27th to July 14th, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

The event takes place at Books & Company, 289 Main St., Picton. Admission is $3, while children 12 and under are free. The artwork at the event will also be for sale.

The event is adding a new artists-in-residence program in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

Twelve local artists are being featured on different days throughout it’s run, listed on a show press release. The event is also adding the Manly E. MacDonald Award of Excellence, which will be awarded by the jurors to the best work in show, said Wilkinson. The show offers a great opportunity for local artists, and has become the premiere art show in Eastern Ontario, said Wilkinson. The event will also help stimulate tourism for the county, Wilkinson said.

“It’s just such a wonderful show that captures what has happened here in Prince Edward
County,” said Wilkinson. “We’ve become such a beautiful arts community and a vibrant,
healthy arts community, and you can see that in the work that comes into the show.”

The show features a jury to evaluate the art and hand out awards. The 3-person jury assembled this year is very prestigious and professional, Wilkinson said. The jury will hand-out a total of 11 awards: five Juror’s Choice, five Honorable Mentions, and the Manley E. MacDonald Award of Excellence. There will also be a People’s Choice Award to be determined by visitor ballots, according to the show website.

Paul Ross, who will showcase his wood-turning at the event June 29th, noted that the event is a huge boon to local artists, and has helped create a thriving arts community in the county.

“The quality (of the show) is first class,” said Ross. “Because of the organizers, the volunteers, and all the work put into it.  Everybody works together. Very much a community sense (with the artists).”

Wilkinson, meanwhile, is optimistic about the future of the 20-year old event, and the art
community that supports it.

“I think as long as we have all the conditions to make it happen…the passion of the artists, the passion of our volunteers…the support of our business community, and with the overall support of the Prince Edward County Arts Council, I think that this show could continue for a long long time.”