Dianna Bonder, as seen in her studio, will take part in the 2022 Gabriola Island Thanksgiving Studio Tour for the 16th time. (Photo by Roger Farr)

Gabriola Island Thanksgiving Studio Tour to feature more than 60 artists

Tour from north to south ends of the island takes place Oct. 8-10

The Gabriola Island Thanksgiving Studio Tour returns this weekend, with some requested enhancements on the south end of the island.

For three days, more than 60 exhibiting artists will open their doors to visitors between Oct. 8-10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Carol Fergusson, Gabriola Arts Council executive director, said she’s not only excited since new artists are participating, but because she also anticipates a “higher appetite” than last year as “people want to get out and about and return to normal activities.”

Fergusson estimated that approximately 1,500 visitors participated in 2021 as part of the Thanksgiving weekend tradition, with an increase in off-island visitors.

“The tour sees people from New York, L.A., Ontario, all over … People find out about it online and from the brochures… and people love visiting Gabriola and want to come back,” she said.

To launch the event, an opening reception will be held at tour central on Oct. 6 from 7-9 p.m. and will remain open during tour hours until Oct. 10. Tour central, located above the Nova Boutique and Gallery at Folklife Village, will also preview sample pieces from each participating artist. Visitors can also pick up a map of the 53 studios that span from the north to south end of Gabriola at the hub, as well as at the island’s B.C. Ferries terminals.

An original Tony Grove acrylic on canvas painting will be raffled off, with the draw Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be obtained at tour central or via e-transfer to carol@artsgabriola.ca as one for $5, three for $10 or five for $20.

As requested, Fergusson said 2022 will also see the addition of portable toilets and a food truck at the Gabriola Island Community Hall, 2200 South Rd., all three days during tour hours.

As a veteran of the studio tour, Dianna Bonder will return for the 16th time.

“My studio is open year round, but the Thanksgiving tour really brings a good audience and a lot of people to the island,” she said. “This year will be awesome because I haven’t shown in three years, so there is a lot of new work – a lot of sculptures and a lot of paintings … and it’ll be good to meet people again.”

Over the weekend, Bonder plans to present new sculptural pieces at the forefront, and as it’s a new medium to her, she is looking forward to feedback.

“Most of the people on the island and those who come to the studio know my background in kid’s [literature] which has been the bulk of my career. So, now, just taking a little step away from kid’s lit and just focusing on painting and sculpture.”

Her studio, located at 1488 Peterson Rd., will also showcase her paintings as well as copies of the 15 children’s books she has illustrated.

The artist said her artistic style has been described as a “carnival of weird,” in that it can be viewed as low-brow, edgy, alternative, and a “road-side attraction that can’t be missed.”

“People come here and they have their experience, and they either love it or they don’t. There doesn’t seem to be too much in between,” she said, adding that she is inspired by the works of Tim Burton, Maurice Sendak and Edward Gorey.

“Although, what makes my studio maybe a little unique is that it’s really a good space for kids … They enjoy coming to visit. There’s books, the paintings are weird and interesting … but my audience is predominately adults.”

More information of the Gabriola Island Thanksgiving Studio Tour, including an online map, can be found at www.theartsongabriola.ca.

READ MORE: Gabriola’s Cultivate festival brings together music, theatre and art


mandy.moraes@nanaimobulletin.com

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One of Dianna Bonder's 'Four Fab Frenchies' dog sculptures that will be available at her studio, 1488 Peterson Rd., during this year's Gabriola Island Thanksgiving Studio Tour. (Instagram photo)

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