Merritt’s fourth annual Art Walk kicked off Saturday July 2.
The event is a mixture of commerce and art, as 18 stores, businesses and community centres across downtown will feature works from local artists. People will be invited to tour the businesses and the art, with a chance to enter a grand prize draw at each location, said Etelka Gillespie, creator and organizer of the Art Walk.
The first step to enjoying the walk is to pick up a guidebook from any of the participating businesses, or one of the City’s new tourism ambassadors, she said.
The tourism ambassadors will be sporting cowboy hats and identifiable green shirts at the Canada Day celebration in Rotary Park, where eager participants can pick up their guidebook.
“Each location will have a ‘footprint’ in the window with their location number. The book will guide you through your walk,” explained Gillespie.
Whereas in past Art Walks, participants simply had to stamp their book at each location in order to be entered into the draw, this year art enthusiasts will be asked to fill out some simple information at each business before being entered into the draw. With 18 locations participating in the Art Walk this year — and therefore 18 chances to enter the draw — those who complete the walk will have a better chance of winning the grand prize, said Gillespie.
This year’s grand prize is a $400 credit, courtesy of the Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce, towards any number of pieces featured on the walk this year — most of which are creations by local artists.
The first 50 walkers who came to the Nicola Valley Community Futures office (the first spot on the walk) on July 4 receivee a charm bracelet, to which they can add beads collected at each of the locations featured on the walk this year. Each bead is different, said Gillespie.
This year, the walk is contained to downtown Merritt, meaning most people will be able to complete the full walk in an afternoon, she added.
This year’s art walk is in memory of a local artist named Diane Kiernan, who passed away last year.
“She was very heavy into the arts community,” said Gillespie.
The art will stay up at the businesses until August 13, and the grand prize draw will take place shortly after.
For a preview of what to expect from local artists on the walk, visit artistsofmerritt.ca.