A splash of creativity is returning to the Canby area, as a group of inner city business owners announced this week that they had relaunched the Canby Arts Association and celebrates its return with a brand new festival, the Through the Looking Glass Arts Festival, this summer in Wait Park.
The Canby Arts Association is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization with a rich history in Canby.
Founded in 1982, it grew out of the earlier efforts of a group of local artists known as the Canby Art Squad and did much to shape the community fabric that so many residents now enjoy, including founding General Canby Days and leading the construction of the iconic Wait Park gazebo.
The group led the Canby Centenary Murals on the historic Police Building by prolific muralist Larry Kangas, and also helped launch the Slice of Summer concert series and the Canby Wine and Arts Festival, as well as the Richard Brown Fine Arts Center at Canby High School.
The new board has been quietly laying the groundwork for this week’s announcement over the past few months – although the Arndts said the idea has percolated since they opened their art gallery and space of creation in the city center last June.
Shelley Arndt explained that the organization’s longtime president, Laura Sattler, approached them to ask if they would be interested in resurrecting the group.
“After meeting with her, we agreed to do it for the community and brought in Megan, Paul and Kayla to help bring the vision to fruition,” she said. “We are very grateful to Laura for passing the torch to us.”
The timing was right as 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the Canby Arts Association. The group intends to rely on its history and past achievements, in particular to rebuild its brand.
“We wanted to create the logo of the Wait Park gazebo, to pay tribute to the Canby Arts Association who donated it in 1983,” DeShazer said.
The new arts festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 23, will feature artwork, authors, food vendors and more.
“I would say the most similar festival is the Oregon City Arts Festival,” Shelley Arndt explained. “However, they don’t have literary arts. We would like to celebrate all the arts in all their forms, even culinary.
To that end, the organizers encourage their food vendors to tap into the artistic and creative spirit of the festival with themed menu items.
“Take the risk,” Shelley said. “Do something that no one has seen of you. We want our artists and vendors to think outside the box, because this festival is thinking outside the box.
It’s also a lot of work, she admitted.
“The stages of planning an art festival are very complex,” she said. “The venue, artists, authors, food vendors, banners, decorations, name, etc. Typically, you would have 12 committees dealing with different areas of the festival. Because this is our first year, we all take on a double duty.
Organizers hope volunteers and community sponsors will help organize this year’s festival. More details on what is needed and how to help will be available in the coming weeks.
“We hope that through the revival of the Canby Arts Association as well as the creation of the Through the Looking Glass Arts Festival, we can help encourage and celebrate the talented creators who live right here in our region,” said Megan Waterman.
“By presenting visual, literary and musical arts at the festival, we hope to create a unique and fun family experience.”
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