Tofino’s Mark Hobson is this year’s Arts on the Avenue guest artist. Hobson’s award-winning portrayals of Pacific Coast landscapes and wildlife will be featured in the Aug. 25 festival

Arts on the Avenue returns to Ladysmith his Sunday

Ladysmith's premiere summer arts fair set to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

As it celebrates its 15th year this weekend, Arts on the Avenue has gained more space for artists and art lovers.

The one-day art show and sale takes place Sunday, Aug. 25 on First Avenue in Ladysmith from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and this year, the Arts on the Avenue venue has moved down First Avenue, and the artists’ big white tents will be lined up from Buller Street to Warren Street. The expanded space will allow the festival’s 50 artists, as well as food artisans and community groups, room to display and will give the visitor elbow room to enjoy the art, according to a press release.

Originally conceived by Marina Latulippe, a group of Ladysmith artists and supporters, the festival is a celebration of local art.

“It’s grown, I guess, slowly because people have tried to maintain the fact it was all about the pure art,” said Kathy Holmes, president of the Ladysmith Arts Council. “It’s sort of gone up and down, but it’s always gone forward and always been a successful event, mostly due to the artists and to the hard work of the volunteers.”

More than 50 juried artists will be tucked under the big white tents offering original art from acrylic and oil paintings, pottery and fabric art to jewelry, carving, glass, willow works and more.

“I think we have a great mix of art,” said Holmes. “It’s not leaning just one way. We will have fine art and fine craft for sure.”

Holmes says there will a lot of “amazing” displays throughout the day, including “plein air” art, hand-built pottery, hand-hooked rugs and altered books.

There will also be community displays and artisan food to take home, such as pasta, East Indian spices, specialized salt, and jam.

Local buskers will provide entertainment, along with belly dancers and an artist on stilts.

There will be lots of children’s activities for the budding artist at the Ladysmith and District Credit Union’s Kids Zone.

This year’s guest artist is Mark Hobson, who is best known for his passionate portrayals of the wildlife and landscapes of the Pacific coast. Hobson has travelled extensively but calls Tofino home, and the rugged west coast has inspired much of his work. Over the past 25 years, his paintings have won awards in the U.S., Canada and Europe, and he has participated in shows throughout North America and as far afield as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Hobson says he has always been interested in creating art.

“I think I was three years old when I drew a little chicken that was pretty recognizable as a chicken,” he said. “From that point on, I was drawing every chance I got. I guess that’s what happens when it’s in you. It’s just this desire to recreate things with pencil and crayons.”

Hobson has always been drawn to the coast.

Between the ages of eight and 12, his family moved to Powell River, and he says they spent a lot of time fishing and taking boat trips.

When Hobson was studying at the University of Victoria, he took a trip with friends to Long Beach, and he remembers thinking it was “everything I’d ever dreamed of” with its dramatic beaches.

“Really, Mother Nature is in control, and I find that incredibly appealing,” he said.

This will be Hobson’s first time participating in Arts on the Avenue.

For more information about Arts on the Avenue, visit www.artonavenue.com. To learn more about Hobson, visit www. markhobson.com.