There is something for every physical sense and samplings of artistry that will delight sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Visual works in paint, clay, wool, basketry, wood, threads, glass, clay, metal, wax, theatre, music, gourmet and organic and raw foods. The local Saturday Market is a smorgasbord, and has mushroomed into Farmers Markets on Tuesdays and another Artisan & Farmers Market on Wednesdays. Salt Spring bursts at the seams with offerings of visual and edible arts.
Your ears will delight in the sounds of local musicians either impromptu park performances, scheduled concerts at Art Spring, or other Venues. Theatre performances are also popular here, with a second to none performing arts program at the high school Salt Spring Island is rich in young and diverse talent in all of the arts; dance, theatre, & music. Many talented and published authors can be found here as well. This is a community where all of the arts are valued.
Equally interesting is the silent undercurrent of art that runs peacefully under the surface. This type of art is harder to see, and often invisible to the eye while experienced by the heart, this is where your sixth sense will come in, and this is where being in the present really comes in handy.
There is the art of community, the art of self-sufficiency, the art of gardening, the art of cooperation, and the art of doing random acts of kindness because it’s the right thing to do, not because you believe you can erase all your karmic debt with one small act. This undercurrent flows because of an unspoken level of acceptance for people to be themselves.
Watch the way young people and families dance freely in the park with impromptu and planned concerts. Sounds of music from a many genres flood the airwaves on a hot summer day. Listen to the way locals share stories teaching and learning about the art of self -sufficient gardening. Locally grown organic foods are pleasures of the palate and palette combining the senses and wrapping them in the warm and vibrant hues of island life. All of these things are an art form. It takes every single person’s effort to form a sense of community.
This is why Artists congregate and take up residence here. It is not just the richness of the landscape, variety of moods created with the weather, the beauty of the ocean surrounding us, and the variety of flora & fauna. It is the depth of acceptance that happens on this island that feeds and nourishes the souls of many Artists. An environment where it is understood that; peace is necessary, and valuable and people learn to disagree agreeably (or usually move away) .This peace includes the freedom to speak one’s mind and still be accepted and respected as an individual.
These elements are necessary for true community. Artists thrive in these types of supportive environments and the evidence of this is seen in the many beautiful varieties of works created by local Artists, Artisans, Musicians, and Writers. This makes it easier for Artists to do what we do, make Art. No need to justify it. We make Art, that’s what we do plain and simple in whatever form it pleases, painting, music, writing, dance, and theatre.
I’ve lived in many small towns on Vancouver Island, the Yukon, Northern B.C., and even Newfoundland. Salt Spring Island has been one of the most interesting towns to put my finger on the pulse and observes what makes its heart beat. I believe I have ascertained in a rough way words to express what it is, although words however accurate or well thought-out are inadequate to describe what sometimes needs to be purely experienced.
The community, landscape, the vibe, all of it combined into a special recipe and shared respectfully creates a unique place that feeds and nourishes the souls of its artists from all genres and allows them to thrive. The result is a vibrant, pulsating, and colourful tapestry magically woven into the Artscape that is Salt Spring Island.
Leanne Brusatore is a freelance writer and artist.