The Whyte Avenue Art Walk is traditionally akin to what you might see on the streets in Europe — artists crowding the sidewalks not only selling their art but creating it on the spot. A comment made by Tim Nolt, an active member of the Old Strathcona Foundation, inspired Art Walk. He mentioned how Whyte Avenue would look “lovely” with artists painting on the streets as they do on the Left Bank of Paris. Twenty-five years later and Nolt’s vision continues to be a summer staple in the city.
“This event has come from fulfilling a need for artists to have a place to sell and display their work and have a real connection with patrons,” says Jill Roszell, producer of the Ice on Whyte Festival and co-producer of Art Walk.
Like many events, the 2020 Art Walk was virtual, and while the 2021 market isn’t back to its complete form yet, it is a beacon of hope that in-person events are resuming for the summer. Instead of being spread across 17 blocks and two parking lots, the Art Walk will be presented inside the former Army & Navy Building.
“We have had a really good response from the artists,” says Roszell. “They were very happy that we were able to do something, and they’re excited to go on the journey with us to try this new format and do it indoors.”
Each weekend, a group of 55 artists spread across two floors in the old Army and Navy Building on Whyte Avenue. The artists will rotate every weekend, so there will always be new pieces for patrons to check out every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until August.
Though the art market looks different this year compared to previous years, it promises to be an exciting opportunity for artists and patrons. Artists will have their own exhibit space in the building to set up a storefront and an area to create art on the spot.
“It is the best way to buy art,” says Kim Fjordbotten, co-producer of Art Walk. “Patrons get to know all about the work. They’re buying a conversation piece, not just something to match the couch.”
The Whyte Avenue Art Walk returns every Friday to Sunday, starting June 11 until August 1. Hours are 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Tickets are $5 and are available at the door or online for timed entry. Children under 12 get in for free, and free admission is offered on Food Bank Fridays between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. with a donation to the Edmonton Food Bank. Want to explore the Avenue while you’re there? You can leave the Art Walk and come back anytime on the same day.
The Whyte Avenue Art Walk is located at 10411 82 Avenue.