ArtWalk connects homegrown art with local businesses


Well-known in Whistler for her vibrant, contemporary paintings, Andrea Mueller is a brilliant ambassador for the creativity that our mountain community inspires. She kicked off 2015 with a successful solo exhibition at the Crystal Gallery, but connect with Mueller outside of the studio and you’ll find her day job is the furthest thing from a solo endeavour.

As the visual arts programmer for the Whistler Arts Council, Mueller is setting the stage for other local artists to spotlight their talents and as project manager for ArtWalk, she has a vision of Village businesses as venues for homegrown art installations this summer.

The Whistler Arts Council has been creating connections between local artists and businesses with their ArtWalk summer festival for the past 10 years. This year’s self-guided walking tour will run from June 27 to August 31, launching with a day of street animation followed by a series of evening socials.

For Mueller, the key to finding the right mix in this palette is facilitating mutually supportive working relationships. She is dedicated to crafting an event that develops a vibrant cultural community by connecting local businesses, artists and visitors.

Giving artists an audience

ArtWalk provides a platform for any artist living in the Sea to Sky corridor to exhibit their work in an eye-catching space and to gain exposure to new audiences as patrons frequent the host venue businesses.

Art admirers strolling the Village in the summer can follow the ArtWalk flag flying at participating storefronts, offices, restaurants and cafes and the ArtWalk passport guide acts as a map to a bounty of treasures by
local talent.

“Through the support of local business owners, ArtWalk has facilitated artwork being showcased in high-traffic locations during some of the busiest months of the year. It’s an amazing opportunity for artists to display their work in public spaces, and also to diversify their audiences and connect with new potential customers,” said Mueller.

A canvas for connections

Business owners who heart art have the opportunity to trade wall space for meaningful connections with the local artist community, other ArtWalk businesses and visiting art enthusiasts. In 2014, over 35 Whistler businesses took part, featuring 48 local artists in what the Whistler Arts Council describes as the resort’s most expansive art exhibit.

Mueller explains that businesses sign up because they want to support local artists, but being part of this community-wide event also gives business owners the opportunity to connect with one another. The art installations make beautiful additions to Village establishments throughout the summer and participants find that giving art a home in their business can create a richer experience for customers as well as draw increased traffic through their doors.

“Whistler has a vibrant arts community with its own culture, which is an interesting draw for visitors,” said Mueller. “A lot of people who come here want to meet a local, whether it’s an artist, a resident, or a business owner. ArtWalk gives visitors a reason to step into local businesses and start those conversations.”

Creating cultural experiences

When ArtWalk weaves visual arts into a visitor’s Village experience the reward is a rich expression of our community’s character. The festival’s launch party floods the Village Stroll with artists, entertainment, music and live demonstrations that leave a lasting impression for cultural tourists.

Whistler’s economic health gets a boost when traffic is driven to local businesses, while visitors are treated to an authentic cultural connection during their stay. They may even take home a permanent piece of Whistler if they choose to purchase the work of a local artist.

Artists and businesses can apply now for this summer’s ArtWalk.

Mueller on connecting her community through art

“The opening night is a great opportunity for visitors to actually meet the artists and locals who are involved. Throughout the two-month festival, the information tent also acts as a connection between artists, businesses and visitors. We’re bridging the gap between all the parties involved, which is ultimately the big idea behind ArtWalk.”

Link to Whistler Question article: http://ow.ly/VMiqS