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And the people said, ‘Give me another Art Attack’

Published on

Cathy Dobson

If this year’s Sarnia Artwalk organizers had a motto it might be, “Ask and you shall receive.”

Requests keep on coming from local artists and the broader community for another Art Attack, prior to the main event in June.

So another Art Attack will be held on First Friday, May 5, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at 100 Christina St.

Art Attacks have been held twice yearly to raise money for Artwalk and keep the spirit of the weekend alive, says Billie Jo Gage, a longtime member of Artwalk’s board.

“I thought about doing a different fundraiser but we have too many people asking for Art Attack,” she said.

“They want to attend and they want to showcase their craft. It’s working and people want it.”

This rendition of Art Attack will involve at least 15 local artists whose challenge is to complete a work within the 3.5-hour timeframe. Once complete, each item is raffled off.

The process of watching a painting evolve or a sculpture take shape fascinates the crowd that inevitably packs 100 Christina, said Gage.

At $5 each or five for $20, raffle tickets aren’t expensive. There’s no cover charge to get in either. As a result, Art Attack raises only $1,000 or $2,000, according to Gage.

Clearly, there’s more going on here than mere fundraising.

“It’s about watching the process,” Gage said. “People say they can’t get enough.”

Several artists at the May 5 event have participated before but new artisans who do something other than paint are jumping on board.

For instance, Dave Ghobril of the Ice Creamery will create a chocolate sculpture, Patti Cook will be wet felting and Sheena Lacroix is working with glass.

Art Attack is followed by another Artwalk fundraiser on May 11 known as the Sarnia Downtown Restaurant Tour. It is also returning by popular demand.

“It’s always been one of my favourite events,” said new Artwalk president Nathan Colquhoun. “And it’s a great way to drive people downtown and promote our restaurants.”

For $30, ticket holders can walk from restaurant to restaurant to sample special kitchen features between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.  Ten restaurants have signed on and tickets are available online at and The Refined Fool Brewing Company on Davis Street.

All this is leading up to the 14th annual Artwalk June 3 and 4, an enormously successful event that generally attracts about 25,000.

About 100 outdoor vendors fill Christina Street rain or shine, unless really bad weather comes along. Unfortunately, Artwalk was walloped by a storm on the Sunday in 2016.

There were fears vendors might not return this year because of that experience but registration is right on track, according to Colquhoun.

Back after a couple of years’ absence is an Artwalk main stage in the Scotia bank parking lot.

That too was requested by many who attend Artwalk because it offers a central gathering spot and a great place for music, drink and food, said Gage.

A second stage will once again be set up outside The Refined Fool. Band details are posted on the Artwalk website (

The Arts Journal showcases cultural life in Sarnia. Contact Cathy with your ideas at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.

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