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Open Sky’s the limit

Arts North East is back to celebrate the best of local art in Northeast BC starting June 9.
The Peace Liard Regional Arts Council has refreshed their name to Arts North East to better represent the communities they serve, and are ready for this year's Open Sky exhibition.

Arts North East (formerly the Peace Liard Regional Art Council) is getting ready to celebrate and award local artists from the Peace to the Northern Rockies. 

Held annually and rotating through different member communities, Open Sky is an opportunity for regional artists to exhibit their talent and be recognized through juried awards in various categories. 

This year marks the 41st time the event has been held, with the opening reception on June 9 at the Chetwynd Rec Center's Tamarack Hall from 6 to 8pm. A series of virtual artist talks are planned, including Gerry Sheena, a carver and a member of the Interior Salish Nation, and Mary Anne Molcan, a Vancouver Island-based print-maker. 

Arts North East Executive Director Haley Bassett notes that the sky truly is the limit - there’s no particular theme in Open Sky, artists are encouraged to submit whatever mediums and subjects they like. 

“There’s no theme, it’s wide open - people think sometimes, or ask me if it has to be sky-themed artwork, and absolutely not,” said Bassett. “I really encourage people to come out, we’ve got some really amazing entries this year, and some from artists that haven’t previously submitted to Open Sky, so I’m really excited to have them included.” 

Bassett says she’s excited to see more pieces of woodworking by local artist Becky Banack, who’s just completed a show at Peace Gallery North. Open Sky is currently scheduled to run from June 9 to July 7, giving residents across Northeast BC plenty of time to engage with the exhibition. 

The Peace Liard Regional Arts Council has also undergone a name change, a refresh that was much needed, said Bassett, and better encompasses the region as a whole. 

“It’s a long name and it’s difficult to remember. The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality is not called the Liard region anymore, so it was time for an update,” said Bassett. 

Registration is still open for both Open Sky and the Open Sky Youth Art Exhibition until June 2. Applications are also being taken for the Open Sky Artist in Residence program, providing a stipend for a regional artist to work on their craft in the community. 

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Have a story idea or opinion? Email

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