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culture

The Queen West Art Crawl, Now With More Etsy

One of Toronto's most celebrated hands-on arts events partners with Etsy and expands their efforts online.

Mike Parsons painting at the 2007 QWAC. Photo by {a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/lu_/1393730824/”}Lú_{/a} from the {a href=”http://www.flickr.com/groups/torontoist/”}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

Queen West Art Crawl
Trinity Bellwoods Park, Other Venues
(Queen Street West)
September 14 to 16, various times
FREE

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the Queen West Art Crawl has become a Toronto institution, a celebration that art lovers and creative makers look forward to all year.

This year, QWAC takes place from September 14 to 16. It includes many events and exhibits that will take place between Roncesvalles Avenue and Bathurst Street along Queen Street West. Attendees will have the opportunity to check out gallery exhibitions throughout the Queen West area, as well as the centrepiece of the QWAC: The Art Show and Sale, which takes place in Trinity Bellwoods Park. This aspect of the QWAC features work by some 250 participating artists and, like all events associated with the festival, it’s free.

Attendees will be treated to much more than simply an art show when they arrive at Trinity Bellwoods Park this weekend. The event has expanded its weekend programming to incorporate eclectic food and beverage vendors, Walks and Talks tours with local artists, a Performance Zone with live music, and a Kids Zone full of hands-on activities for younger art lovers. But perhaps the most exciting expansion of the QWAC initiatives is the festival’s new partnership with Etsy, an online retail hub devoted to serving the needs of independent artists and purveyors of handmade goods.

At Trinity Bellwoods Park, Etsy will host The Etsy Studio, a part of the community craft area where artists will lead participants through a series of free workshops. Attendees will gain insight into a particular artist’s process and, maybe, confidence in their own creative abilities. According to QWAC executive director Cindy Goldrick, the Etsy partnership is an attempt to help adults connect with their paint-splattered inner children.

“Because we have a Kids Zone, a place for kids to create and get in touch with their inner artist, we wanted to do something like that for adults,” she said. “The whole premise behind the educational component of the Queen West Art Crawl is to make art accessible—not just for people to buy or see in a gallery, but for people to understand, and ultimately to make themselves. Adults should be able to play and make things, too.”

The partnership between the Queen West Art Crawl and Etsy extends beyond the workshop. As Goldrick explains it: “We’re basically doing the same thing that Etsy does online: they have a virtual collection of artists online, and we have a collection of artists together in the park for a weekend.” Goldrick notes that many vendors are also members of Etsy, and so part of this year’s initiative included creating an Etsy community for the artists. Etsy will also be running a free workshop for all QWAC artists, enabling them to learn more about Etsy and how to use it to reach a wider audience beyond the park.

While this event reaches out to conquer new and exciting online territory, its heart and soul is still devoted to IRL events. Arts for Children and Youth will be hosting the the Kids Zone this year, where participants will be invited to take part in a huge, collaborative streamer-art project called Collaboration Massive. The QWAC will kick off at the Drake Hotel’s Underground with a cocktail party and arts auction, and throughout the weekend, Parkdale Nightcrawl events will give night owls opportunities to indulge in their creative sides.

Check out the QWAC website for more details.

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