Off The Vine


Twilight detour through Yarrow yields new market splendours

Yarrow is a little pocket of a community, right between the sprawling green of Chilliwack farms and the vivid, touristy Cultus Lake area. Between the beauty and function of each, Yarrow has grown into an artistic and alternative village.

A market in such a place seemed obvious, but this is the first year that Yarrow has hosted one: the Yarrow Twilight Art and Farm Market. Located off Yarrow Central Road in Yarrow Pioneer Park, the market displays an array of vendors, from Greendale Produce and Baking to Cariboo Candle Holders.

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“Uncomfortable, messy, and exhilarating” : Art Battle #398 takes over The Reach

Four artists stand, palettes and brushes in hand, staring at the empty canvases before them. The air is electric with pulsing dance music and anticipation. Raw talent ready to shine. One of the artists shouts, “I have no idea what I’m doing!” But it’s too late to turn back: it’s the final round of Art Battle #398 with a trip to the regional finals in Vancouver on the line.

The crowd of roughly 85 people gathered at The Reach on May 13 had been waiting all night for this showdown between previous champions Stephen Chen, Cindy Dohms, and Shannon Thiesen and new challenger Rose Ross.

Soon, the volume from the CIVL DJ booth dipped and MC Aaron Levy began the countdown. As the crowd finished shouting out the final numbers, a flurry of activity took over the floor, paint splashing off canvases as runners were dispatched to fetch beer and wine for the painters racing against the clock to complete their pieces in under 20 minutes.

The audience started circling the painters in what Levy refers to as a “slow-moving tornado,” casting shadows across the canvases, further obscuring the artists’ already compromised light. Passers-by keenly scrutinized the emerging images, considering which painting might win their vote to crown the Art Battle #398 champion.

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My World art show sheds light on the lives of Mission youth

Minutes from bustling downtown Mission is the Rock Family Gallery. Entering the Mission Arts Centre building that houses the gallery, I was immediately struck by the history of the space, which features a large front porch and exposed wooden beam ceilings. Juxtaposed against all this history is an abundant array of artwork created by Mission teenagers.

This is the fourth annual student art show hosted by the Mission Arts Centre. The theme, My World, was created to encourage students to share where they draw inspiration from and what is important to them.

The show featured a plethora of styles, subject matter, and media ranging from drawing and painting, to photography and sculpture. From my perspective, the show would have benefitted from being more selective, only showing pieces that truly reflected the theme, as some works are obviously the result of teacher-directed school projects.

That being said, I did appreciate the glimpse into the minds and worlds of some of these students. Theirs is an uncontrived perspective, simply showing the world as they see it, without the need for concepts and theories as they explore different techniques and materials. Some of the pieces are unique to the adolescent viewpoint, such as the watercolour painting entitled “Boys in the Library.” The piece depicts a scene so mundane and everyday I’m instantly transported back to my own high school days when I was bored out of my mind, and I wonder if that artist feels the same way.

Another piece that stood out to me was “Platonic” by Jaden from Hatzic Middle School. It’s a photograph of a young girl, presumably a friend of the artist, who stares directly at the viewer without apology. The title is curious. Why would the artist feel the need to point out that nature of the relationship? Perhaps it points to key issues at play in the lives of teenagers today — those dealing with relationships and sexuality. Regardless, it is a beautiful portrait, expertly composed, and certainly left an impression on me.

Art shows like these are important because they give young artists an opportunity to have their work showcased to a wider audience. My World ran from May 10 to 28 and featured student work from Hatzic Middle School, Mission Secondary School, and the Summit Learning Centre.

For many of these students, this is their first taste of artistic success. The show was juried to determine the winner of Best in Show in both secondary and middle school categories. The winners were announced on May 28.

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“You can’t be a dumbass forever”: In-depth with Blessed’s Drew Riekman

After years spent paying their dues in talented bands stunted by half-hearted commitment and wasted potential, the four members of Abbotsford’s Blessed are ready to make good. Their new EP is four tightly wound tracks of sophisticated and raw post-punk that recalls the muscular intricacy of Television at their Marquee Moon peak. This is especially…

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Aboriginal artists to showcase living culture at Kariton Gallery

June is Canada’s Aboriginal Awareness month, yet some feel Abbotsford falls short in bringing local First Nations culture to the forefront. Public events that highlight Aboriginal art and worldview are scarce, despite Abbotsford’s presence on unceded Stó:lō territory. This absence has been long apparent to Tery Kozma, who has been volunteering with the Abbotsford Arts…

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