Here’s a blogpost by Blue Sail’s Neen Kelly, who has just returned from a trip to Canada:
The skill in marketing is to take a successful model and consider how you can transfer it to another sector. The community on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia have managed to take the idea of a pub crawl and transfer it into an art trail.
The Sunshine Coast is a peninsula located off the coast of Vancouver with no access by road, just ferry, water taxi and sea plane. It takes its name from the warmer climate it offers visitors and residents and is an area rich in wildlife, parks, lakes and beaches. It also has a growing number of artisan businesses.
Now in its third year, the Sechelt Art Crawl comprises 122 participating galleries and artist studios and over 300 artists. The number of venues has increased by 47 from 2012 and demonstrates the event is going from strength to strength. Visitors are called ‘crawlers’ and are invited to visit the stretch of coastline from north to south or vice versa visiting the artisan establishments and artists that interest them. Held over a Friday to a Sunday in October it provides the opportunity for weekend breaks to boost autumn tourism. Statistics indicate that there were 18,000 visits to studios in 2012 and this doubled the numbers from the first year.
Artisans and artists represented include those working in traditional materials such as glass, ceramics and wood but also those working in less mainstream materials such as concrete and titanium. Many studios only open to the public over this weekend and provide a great opportunity to have a peak behind the scenes. Joni Mitchell is a local resident and, as can be seen in some of the galleries, provides inspiration to some of the artists.
A passport is issued at main venues and visitors can collect stamps at the studios and galleries they visit. The passports are then entered into a prize draw and provide a mechanism for data collection by the organisers. Crawlers can take in as many venues as they see fit and instead of imbibing alcohol they can soak up some local art and culture as they crawl along this wonderful coast.