MELANIE MINTY: Get on the bus for a trip from Surrey Art Gallery to ‘The Flats’

Also: Surrey talent in ‘A Christmas Story, the Musical’ at Stanley

The Equinox gallery in Vancouver is among four stops on a contemporary art bus tour that departs from Surrey Art Gallery on Wednesday

SURREY — Art gallery-goers are going to greet with glee the bulletin that bus tours are back.

These guided tours are a collaboration between Surrey Art Gallery staff and the Surrey Art Gallery Association, aka SAGA. Sure, sure, sure. Our own gallery is worth touring and touting all on its own, but occasionally it is a good plan to take a field trip to see what is happening in other local venues. It’s all about connecting art with the communities they live in.

The next contemporary art bus tour is Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees will be guided to and through four galleries in The Flats, located on the east side of Vancouver’s Main Street between Terminal Avenue and East Broadway. Formerly an industrial area, it is now home to a cluster of new visual art venues. This trip is for those aged 16 and over at a cost of $75. Bring a bag lunch or pick something up on site.

Led by Surrey Art Gallery director Liane Davison and curator Jordan Strom, participants will meet at the Bear Creek Park gallery for an orientation over coffee, and then visit Equinox, Monte Clark, Macauley & Co. and Grunt galleries in Vancouver. You’ll get to experience art by celebrated Canadian and international artists in a range of media, from paintings to photography and installation to digital media. See what artists are making today and learn about new gallery trends – all in a friendly, accessible, and conversational environment.

Davison, over many years, has patiently led me to appreciate the many facets of contemporary art. Can’t say I always agree with the selections gracing our gallery, but hey. Expand your mind and think outside the bus. To register for this bus tour, check out the events section at Surrey.ca/artgallery.

Now about the Surrey Art Gallery Association (SAGA), a non-profit society that offers its members the opportunity to participate in and respond to contemporary art and also be part of a community that actively supports the gallery. Juried art shows, gallery guides and bus tours are just part of the SAGA story. SAGA also runs the Gallery Gift Shop at Surrey Arts Centre.

Local artists and artisans offer one-of-a-kind gift items and this little shop, located just outside the Studio Theatre, is a wonder of works that are not only art, but often wearable. Yes, it is a good time to get gifts for those unique individuals on your gift list, but it also will support local artists.

Usually, your gallery gift-shopping is restricted to the cozy space (that should actually read “small”) adjacent to the washrooms. But on Saturday, Nov. 28 only, the adjacent Studio Theatre will host a selection of artists showcasing new work and providing you with the opportunity to meet them and hear the stories behind their artwork. At SAGA’s two-day Art & Craft Show & Sale (Nov. 27-28), shoppers will discover decorative and functional pottery, handcrafted jewelry, cards, limited-edition prints, hand-blown and slumped glass, original paintings, photography, artisan soaps, turned wood, fabric art and art cards. During the sale, a 10-per-cent discount applies on all items at the gift shop. And it is art, so only PST is charged. Enticing. Admission is free but do bring a non-perishable food item to support the local food bank. There should be no starving artists in our city – and we do often forget to feed to fabric of our society. Donate to the food bank.

I know I will never be a visual artist. It is just really not my talent. I like to think of myself as an emerging performing artist and one of my favourite performance venues is the Surrey Arts Centre MainStage. This venue hosts not only amateur performances but also professionals. We have seen some great shows at our arts centre stage. But, just like the SAGA bus tour, sometimes it is good to get out and see what is happening elsewhere.

The Arts Club Theatre Company is no stranger to Surrey audiences, especially with the Arts Club on Tour series. Maybe this season, you wouldn’t mind going into Vancouver to the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage to see

“A Christmas Story, the Musical.” It runs from Nov. 5 to Dec. 27. Tickets start at $29, inclusive of taxes and fees. Call the Arts Club Box Office at 604-687-1644 or visit Artsclub.com.

This is a beautiful Christmas story, and the cast includes people like Janet Gigliotti, who, once upon a time, performed as an amateur with the Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society at Surrey Arts Centre. And director/choreographer Valerie Easton might also be remembered for all the years she taught tap dance in Surrey. We are almost family.

Get on the bus.

melminty@telus.net

 

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