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Chilliwack art contest winner to adorn a canvas bag

Reusable bags are everywhere, and used for almost anything.

They hold your groceries. They hold your books. They hold your swimsuit and towel when you head to the beach.

And starting in 2015, they’ll also be spreading a piece of Chilliwack artwork as they travel through the community slung over shoulders and nestled in the crook of elbows.

The Chilliwack Arts Council (CAC) is on the hunt for artwork inspired by all facets of Chilliwack.

At the end of September, one image will be plucked from the flock to represent both the Arts Council and Chilliwack’s arts community as a whole.  The winning artist will receive a $100 honorarium, and see their artwork as the star in a fall exhibit.

And even after the show wraps up, the image will appear on a run of canvas tote bags—combining beauty with functionality and pairing fundraising with creation.

“We spend a lot of time around here talking about creative things,” Patti Lawn,  CAC executive director, says with a laugh. “And we’re always trying to figure out ways to acknowledge our local artists and spotlight them.”

The Arts Council runs an online Chilliwack Arts Directory to help bring artists and audiences together, and Lawn hopes this new project will help connect a few more artists to that web.

“We’ve already had a couple of submissions, and the thoughtfulness that people have with their art is really exciting—just the variety and the inspiration that people bring, and to see who’s out there,” Lawn explains.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the project will be the end exhibit—a gallery of images summing up what Chilliwack means to artists.

Lawn says it’s bound to be a wide variety of work—and they can’t wait to see what it all looks like.

“Here’s an opportunity for all of us to get together and get to know each other,” she says. “That in itself is really exciting.”

Best of all, all proceeds from the canvas bag sales will roll right back into Chilliwack’s arts community, going towards future art programs and events through the council.

“We target a lot of our children’s programming, because they’re the ones we want to get inspired,” Lawn says. “Good papers, good and different types of paint—we want to move beyond the little disks of watercolours. We want them to be able to experiment with acrylics and really good quality paper, and really find what speaks to them in art.

“These are our artists of the future.”

• To enter, submit a photo of the piece along with your name, phone number,  and a description of the artwork (including medium, dimensions, and title). Submissions are accepted by email at office@chilliwackartscouncil.com or in person at the Art Room on Vedder Road. For more information, visit www.chilliwackartscouncil.com/call-for-artists. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 30.

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