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Jun. 22, 2021 | Tuesday
Local News
Pumphouse unveils art competition winners
Athina McConkey paints at the Parks Canada tent. (Jessica Maxwell/Special)

The Niagara Pumphouse was bursting with art and celebrations this weekend, as the arts centre continued to celebrate its 25th anniversary by hosting two events — the 14th Annual “Art at the Pumphouse” event and an awards ceremony for the Walker Industries Art Competition Exhibition.

The Pumphouse show saw 63 Ontario-based artists showcasing sculptures, paintings, jewelry and other hand-crafted works, while the Walker competition featured 25 artists from across Canada. 

Event co-ordinator Sandra Stokes said the Art at the Pumphouse event has seen exponential growth over the past few years.

“It’s changed as things have progressed,” she said. “We used to have only about 30 artists at one time. We’ve expanded hugely,” said Stokes.

“It used to be quite a lot of traditional art and it seems to have grown and changed to different types of art and different type of work. We try and sort of go for the public for all different price points as well.”

Expansion of artist booths across Ricardo Street last year, as well as accommodating artists indoors, were factors in allowing the event to grow from 30 to over 60 vendors, she said.

Clive Kay, who was showcasing his art at the show, said he was pleased with the number of people who showed up during the day. “(I was) impressed with the traffic. That’s what artists want. The organizers can bring the people in and then it’s up to the artists to make a sale and do some business,” he said.

During the event, visitors were also able to have a bit of lunch, provided by the Waterfront Bistro and Pig Out catering, as well as musical entertainment by Gerry Kowalchuk, Grant Ritchie, DJ Moose Mike.

Winners of the Walker competition were announced Sunday, with Beverly Barber taking home first place and Lorena Ziraldo winning second.

Julie Ponesse, a NOTL resident, took the People’s Choice award.

She said she’s thrilled to be part of the Niagara-on-the-Lake arts community.

“Arts are not just tolerated (in NOTL), they are embraced and celebrated and supported… They are woven into the fabric of the place,” Ponesse said in an interview before she knew she was the winner.

“(The Walker competition) is done fantastically, it’s gotten a lot more people for our gallery, It’s opened us up to a bigger audience,” said Stokes.

Donald Campbell, another NOTL artist, who paints at the Pumphouse weekly, said NOTL has a “really well-established art community and the quality of this show is just excellent.”