A Vibrant Hub for Creatives
Artisans Northwest to Hold 48th Juried Show
By Sidney Ulakovic
The longstanding collective Artisans Northwest will once again provide a platform for local artisans to showcase their work this November when they return with their annual juried exhibition. “There’s a high level of craftsmanship and quality involved,” says president of the Artisans Northwest executive board Ellie Törnblom of the annual fine arts and crafts show. This year’s show will once again be held at the Valhalla Hotel and Conference Centre on November 4 and 5, opening at 10 am both days. The show will be entirely in-person, and attendees will have the chance to see and purchase the work of 46 locally and nationally celebrated artists, including painters, jewelry makers, fibre artists, metal workers, potters, and more. “It’s had its own humble beginnings like any other organization,” says Törnblom as the collective inches towards their 50th anniversary. Artisans Northwest was founded in 1975 and is now one of the longestrunning fine arts and crafts shows in the city. The show has gone through various iterations over the years before settling on the annual show leading up to the holiday season, with special consideration given to the venue’s capability of reflecting the calibre of the work it will host. “For the last 50 years, we’ve been one of the main ways that [artists] can come and show their work in a setting that [...] gives it a proper platform,” says Törnblom. For members and the board, a focus is on diversifying the artwork showcased each year. “This year in particular we have quite a variety,” says Törnblom. Attendees can expect to see mediums on display that Artisans Northwest hasn’t seen for some time, including fine artworks made in charcoal and pencil crayon. “I think Artisans Northwest holds a special place in the community because it’s one of the only truly juried shows,” says Törnblom. The peer review required prior to gaining membership with the collective serves to aid artists in establishing and maintaining a career, she explains. While there are more avenues available to artists to promote their work now than ever, Artisans Northwest remains a highly regarded event to showcase the work of artists who have mastered their craft. As much as the show is an honour for the members of Artisans Northwest to be a part of, it’s also been a pleasure for the greater community as it has continued to bolster Thunder Bay as a vibrant hub for creatives in Northwestern Ontario for almost half a century. To stay up to date with Artisans Northwest and the accomplishments of its members, follow them on Instagram @artisansnorthwest.