Powell River

Take a ferry to discover the artists of Powell River

The arts community is growing steadily in Powell River

This is a photo of a Raku shaker.
Ash from the flames often contributes to the pottery finish. — Photo courtesy of Jan Lovewell, Rare Earth Pottery.

The arts community is growing steadily in Powell River, reflecting the quiet of nature, the vast ocean, deep forests and a resource-based community in flux.

“It’s a changing thing,” said local potter Jan Lovewell. “Different people come to the community for different reasons, but the artists’ subjects most often reflect nature and the resurgence of the townsite.”

Powell River received designation as a National Historic District of Canada in 1995—one of seven in the country and the only one in western Canada— confirming the town’s national significance and opening the door to art in a historical context.

Crucial to the arts scene is the Patricia Theatre, B.C.’s oldest running theatre, that was saved by the grace of community donations last year when the movie industry moved to mandatory all-digital equipment.

The venue shows first run movies, art film series, live performances, guest speakers and children’s events year round. Art exhibits and events are also on the roster at the theatre, which fills its seats almost every night of the year.

Touring the landscape

The highlight of visual art in Powell River is the Powell River Studio Tour, a self-guided adventure of the upper Sunshine Coast with 20-plus locations from Lang Bay to Lund.

The wilderness and perhaps the isolation—Powell River is located on a peninsula and accessible only by ferry—inspires a rare eclectic mix of art media among local artists, who open their studios to the tour during the last weekend in August.

Stone carving, print making and natural fibre creations are among the participants’ masterpieces, along with watercolour and acryclic original paintings and prints.

Lovewell’s Rare Earth Pottery studio in Lund (located directly across from Sunlund campground and RV park) is part of the tour, offering the region’s only raku-fired artistic pieces. Raku ware, a type of Japanese pottery known for its high porosity and low firing temperatures, is a unique and unexpected addition to any art collection.

“For me, making pottery is both a compulsion and a small act of gratitude for creation itself,” said Lovewell. “Clay is an inspiration in itself. Its workability changes. Sometimes it needs the most tender of touches and other times you can whack it with a stick.

“It is a wonderful thing to be able to work with the elements – clay, water, fire, minerals, gravity, centrifugal force, to name a few.”

Musical escapades

The Lund Shellfish Festival at the end of May and Lund Days during the summer months welcome spectators with music, dance and eclectic performance events as well as an artisan market where crafters and artists show off their wares. The Lund Gazebo also hosts local impromptu and promoted music and performances in a beautiful park setting.

Close out the season with Arts Alive in the Park during the third week in August with two days of art and music events and displays or at the Sunshine Folkfest on Labour Day weekend. The latter is Powell River’s premier music and artisan event, with amazing food and beach access.

“Living here provides a peaceful and beautiful natural environment, and this is a community of people who will come together to help one another in times of need or celebration,” said Lovewell.

“We have a community of friends who are creative in so many ways – music, gardening, cooking, and in the homes they have built,” she said. “We gather for evenings of improvised music. This is spontaneous musical expression in a supportive environment.”

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