by Ian McKay
During a recent duplicate bridge game, Lucy Boston one of our bridge club members mentioned to me that I should contact Dave Solomon to obtain information on the Sylvan Circle. Little did I know that I was about to discover a group of dedicated artists and artisans who have volunteered their time and efforts to promoting and protecting the culture of artists and artisans in Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding area. Dave Solomon whom I met recently at the Centennial library is about to take over as Chairman of the Sylvan Circle from long-standing Chairman Errol Caldwell.
The 16th annual Sylvan Circle Artist & Artisan Tour which takes place this year on Saturday, September 17th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. is a unique tour which starts in Echo Bay, winds through highway 638 to Bruce Mines and finishes at the Laird Hall. The tour provides a wonderful opportunity to see and purchase excellent high-quality artistic work from 57 local area artists and artisans including 3 emerging artists in 10 community halls and 2 studios. The tour includes the beautiful picturesque scenery along the route as well as an opportunity to enjoy homemade meals and baking at 6 different locations.
Additionally, for the first time, Eat Algoma has partnered with Sylvan Circle to provide at the Desbarats arena with a feast of local foods prepared by several chefs from local restaurants.
The sylvan circle is the brainchild of a local potter Sheila Harris who managed to persuade a group of local artists to meet and develop a program for the tour which originated in the year 2000 with about 30 artists participating. Currently, the Sylvan committee consists of 11-12 volunteers who meet quarterly. Their meetings reorganised to request artists and artisans to submit applications for the tour entry, review samples, select participants, designate show halls, prepare promotional material for local media, print tour brochure.
Artists and Artisans applications for participation have to be submitted by April 1st. There is a nominal entry fee for each participant. The day before the tour starts, all displays are completed and reviewed by the respective hall monitors. Dave indicated that the participants are well-established artists as well as three emerging artists the committee has selected to exhibit their work.
The only source of revenue to support this exceptional tour is the nominal participant fee, sponsors, and brochure business advertisers. Dave believes the committee’s mission is to foster the Sault and area artistic culture as well as encourage the development of new artists.
We are fortunate that these volunteers have created and organised such an exceptional opportunity to see quality artistic work while enjoying the beauty of our area.
For more information about the Sylvan Circle, visit their website at http://sylvancircle.ca/.