Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crawling at the Wilder Snail

Hawks and Keefer. For us, this is the jump-off point of our Culture Crawl explorations. For one thing, it's a "can't miss" location, at the corner of MacLean Park, and more or less the centre of Strathcona proper, and just off the fold on the map.

Paneficio Studios, with a full house of artists, sits katycorner from the Wilder Snail, a newish grocery and coffee shop. (The name comes from this gigantic snail, ...

... that hangs from the ceiling, along with enormous red paper globes. From outside, after dark -- early in these November days --, they warm the entire street.)

The Wilder Snail, after dark.

Same building, during the Crawl.

Laurie has been experimenting with scenes reflected in car windows, which stretches and twists them in unexpected ways. Here's another, of the same corner, looking northeast:

Crowds of Crawlers.

Mid-afternoon, both days, from our table in the Snail, we watched the action on the street:

Crawlers entering the front door of the Paneficio. Valerie Arntzen and Sharon Petty are here.

Bicycle in MacLean Park

At the corner of the park, a handy bench.

Dog, highlighted by the afternoon sun, watches his owner intently.

The Crawl has grown; this year, over 300 artists participated. They were housed in at least 52 buildings, some as individuals, some occupying studios in large buildings, such as the Parker Street Studios, with 90 artists' studios open for the weekend. We couldn't possibly have seen them all, even in the two days we had. We did manage to visit some 30 or so, and talked with many of the artists.

These studios are usually not open to the public; some of them are live-in studios, others are work sites only. Exhibitions and sales take place in other venues, staffed by salespeople. So this weekend is a unique opportunity to drop in and visit with the artists.

Many of the displays are temporary set-ups, tables in garages, small apartments with the living quarters carefully disguised (but not entirely) by curtains or even stapled-on brown paper. My granddaughter borrowed her aunt's house for the occasion; the upstairs was blocked off with a chair and masking tape sealed the office door. (By the way, in this, her first Crawl, she sold 3 large pieces, totalling over $3000. Congratulations, Auj!)

Auj, in the middle, with two friends, and two of her paintings.

You can see a larger sampling of her work here. (They're not all nudes.) (Update: link now dead.)

She's only 22. We're very proud of her.

Next: talking with some of the artists. Starting, I think, with Ruth Scheuing.


  1. What a coincidence. I was just checking my Google reader when this post appeared. What a great shell sculpture! Looks like Cantareus apersus to me.

    And many congrats to your granddaughter!

  2. Wow! That was fast!

    I had no idea that snail was identifiable as to species. I'll have to check out the artist.

    Thanks, on behalf of Auj.

  3. Wow, your granddaughter is some to be proud of! And a real cutie to boot. Congrats on her 3 big sales.


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