Ucluelet Secondary School art teacher and winner of the 2018 ArtSplash! Peoples Choice Selection Shannon McWhinney celebrates with students Kyri Peel and Rueben Williams during the March 8 opening night. The annual art show can be viewed in the Black Rock lobby until March 17. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

WATCH: ArtSplash! 2019 opens at Black Rock Resort in Ucluelet

Visit the exhibit until March 17 and cast your vote for your favourite work of art.

One of the West Coast’s favourite art shows has returned.

Presented by the Pacific Rim Arts Society (PRAS), ArtSplash! is on now until March 17 in the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort lobby. The free exhibit features original work by over 60 local and regional artists. After perusing the art display, onlookers are welcome to cast a vote for their favourite work of art in the coveted ‘Peoples Choice Selection’ contest.

Last year, Ucluelet artist and high school art teacher Shannon McWhinney won the popular vote for her painting ‘Splish Splash’. In 2017, Tofino’s Mark Hobson won the Peoples Choice for ‘Bald Eagles Waiting for Salmon in Kynoch Inlet’.

“Some of my paintings tend to have a bit of humour in them,” said McWhinney. “Some of them, I try to get more of the emotional quality of their reaction to people and to their environment. My work tends to be very colourful, very linear, and kind of impressionistic.”

PRAS president Mark Penney offered a sincere congratulations to all the participating ArtSplash! 2019 artists.

“I couldn’t be more proud. I am blown away by the caliber of work,” said Penney at the opening reception on Friday evening, March 8. “I encourage visitors to think beyond the aesthetic of the painting and consider why it was painted,” he went on to say.

Port Alberni artist Nigel Sutcliffe entered the art exhibit for the first time.

“I love the beauty of Ucluelet. I was sitting with my son and we were watching the whales come up as the sun was setting. It was just like something out of a movie,” said Sutcliffe.

Ucluelet artist Giovi Corlazzoli was the Peoples Choice Selection in 2015 for his painting of a Chinook salmon in the kelp entitled ‘Passing By’. This is his fourth ArtSplash!

“This year I decided to focus more on sculpture and ceramics. I chose the ceramics because it’s a little bit more hands on than the paintings I find. I can really get involved with it and get a bit messy in the studio,” said Corlazzoli, who will be the featured ‘Artist in Action’ on March 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Black Rock Resort lobby.

Local pyrographic artist Kelly Deakin has three creations in the exhibit.

“I use a tool, it looks like a pen but it heats up. Instead of using a pencil or a pen to draw with I use a burner,” said Deakin. “[My art] is eclectic and unique. I don’t follow anybody else’s rules for art, I always follow my own. Everything I do is very different from most artwork that you find.”

All the artwork on display during ArtSplash! is for sale. Locals and visitors are encouraged to stop by the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort lobby from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. On select days, participating artists are scheduled to showcase their talent live from 1 to 4 p.m. Visit http://pacificrimarts.ca more details.

READ MORE: Tla-o-qui-aht artist celebrates first solo show in Victoria

READ MORE: Reflecting Spirit Gallery offers tapestry of West Coast stories

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