Artishow emphasizing the ‘public’ in public art

Sculptor Nathan Scott works on a clay figure of a cowboy in the lobby of the Chateau Victoria. Scott was participating in Artishow 2011

Sculptor Nathan Scott works on a clay figure of a cowboy in the lobby of the Chateau Victoria. Scott was participating in Artishow 2011

Works in progress are on display around Victoria

Before the month’s end, Nathan Scott will attempt to finish sculpting a life-sized cowboy.

As one of more than 50 artists participating in Artishow 2011, Scott is artist-in-residence at the Chateau Victoria Hotel, where his creative process is on display live. His goal is to complete the cowboy he started earlier this week by May 30.

“It’s fun to sculpt publicly. It intrigues people,” said the 42-year-old artist. “Most people don’t ever see artists at work; we’re always behind closed doors.”

Artishow is an eight-month series giving artists the chance to produce their work under the curious eyes of passersby.

“I thought, ‘there must be a way to make a community-based program for visual artists that would benefit everybody,’” said co-ordinator Barbara Adams. “And having the artists out in public gives them the opportunity to have another venue to showcase their work. But it also gives people walking by an opportunity to see an artist at work.”

Five hotels – Chateau Victoria, Inn at Laurel Point, Hotel Grand Pacific, Fairmont Empress and Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe – host different artists each month until December in a variety of artistic media, from painting to sculpting to pottery.

Scott says the exposure will be nice, because gaining that is the goal for any artist.

“It’s just a great opportunity to be able to engage the public, but ultimately I’m fishing,” he said. “I don’t know who’s going to be walking through that lobby. But you just go out there, do what you do and hope somebody’s interested.”

Scott is no stranger to public art, nor is he a stranger to the Chateau Victoria. “Shaker,” his sculpture of former Chateau owner Clive Piercy and his German short-haired pointer Shaker, welcomes guests at the entrance to the hotel.

“Having a piece in the very front there is kind of full circle. People will get to see what these pieces are like at different stages of the process,” Scott said.

The cowboy is a lengthy project. Though he hopes to be completed by the end of the month, Scott acknowledges it could take upwards of another month. Then he will have to cast the sculpture, which will take another three or four months.

A new artist will take up residence at each hotel on a monthly basis. Currently on display are Scott, painter Tim Hoey (Laurel Point), painter Chin Yuen (Grand Pacific), painter Nicholas Pearce (Empress) and painter Anne Pelletier (Ocean Pointe).

There will also be plein-air events at the hotels on weekends throughout the summer. The first takes place June 25 and 26.

“We hope this can help make Victoria a city of artists and (help the city) be known for its artists,” Adams said.