On Saturday we hosted Whitehorse’s first ever Art Battle in conjunction with events happening across the country as part of National Art Battle Day. We had 12 Yukon artists, both established and emerging, square off for the chance to represent the Yukon at the national championships this July in Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The brave artists were John Boivin, Erin Dixon, James Gilchrist, Heidi Hehn, Tyson Isted, Hildur Jonasson, Lillian Lopenen, Meghan Larivee, Christina Macdonald, Nathalie Parenteau, Mary Ellen Read, and me.
We ran the only free event in Canada (although we did gratefully accept donations from the crowd to help cover costs) and the only one that took place outside. The Whitehorse Wharf was packed with people watching the two qualifying rounds of six artists each and the final round of four – with the top two from the qualifying rounds advancing.
The online voting system that Art Battle Canada set up for us worked liked a charm, even with the outdoor venue. Tim Cameron kept the crowd and the artists dancing all night long with his dj-ing. Tyler Kuhn captured the whole event in video and photos. Our dedicated volunteer team, including Heather Horton as MC, Jodie Thompson as auction manager, Christopher Griffiths as social media manager, and Casey Lee as information table and donations manager, kept things running smoothly. Donations of easels from Arts Underground and art supplies from Yukon Arts Centre made the event possible. The audience was super enthusiastic and supportive, and made sure there was some fierce bidding during the silent auction of the 16 completed pieces. And the sun even came out. It was a perfect event, and hopefully will be the first of many.
And in the end John Boivin secured his spot in the national championships – I can’t wait to see how he does.