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‘High-level’ art festival debuts at Victoria’s Government House this summer

ArtisTREE is produced by Market Collective and the founder of Esquimalt Farmers Market
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An aerial view of the Government House garden, where ArtisTREE fesitval is set to take place July 27 and 28, 2024. (Courtesy ArtisTREE)

Get your reusable bags and sun hats ready, because a new arts festival and market is coming to town.

Coming from the Market Collective, who run Meet the Makers mini markets at The Bay Centre, ArtisTREE launches July 27 and 28 on the grounds of Government House in the Rockland neighbourhood.

At the helm is co-creator Katrina Dwulit, founder of the award-winning Esquimalt Farmers Market.

While the south Island has many markets, Dwulit said this one will be “marching to the beat of its own drum,” and drawing inspiration from bigger festivals up Island.

”The drive to create this event comes with inspiration from events like the Filberg Festival in the Comox Valley and seeing how that drives the arts and culture there – not to mention tourism and local economy,” Dwulit said.

“Markets are kind of our world. And this is definitely the biggest scale of event that we’ve done.”

Dwulit is part of the core co-creator team with project manager Cory Judge (Shi Studio) and Vanessa Gaudet (Lady Dragon Glassworks). Judge has previous experience running events and Gaudet and Judge have each attended “every style of event” across Canada in their 20-plus years as jewellers, Dwulit said.

Beyond Mini Markets, the trio also produces a market series at Hillside Shopping Centre, curates the vendors at The Village Block Party on Cook Street (2023 and 2024) and runs three Market Collective boutiques (The Bay Centre, Matticks Farm, Westshore Town Centre).

“ArtisTREE will be the most immersive, diverse and interesting event by leaps and bounds,” Dwulit said when explaining where the event fits in the scope of Market Collective’s projects.

“ArtisTREE Festival will be woven through the lawns of Victoria’s best-kept ‘secret’ garden oasis. Guests will stroll through pockets of diverse artistic expression, with the opportunity to eat from delicious food trucks, feel creatively inspired, purchase unique wares from nearly 150 makers and dance to some amazing musicians,” a press release for the event reads.

“It will incorporate as many forms of art as possible with a heavy focus on high-level and curated handmade vendors, music, performance and installation art.”

The location also offers a chance for festival-goers to wander through the manicured rose gardens, pond gardens and the natural woodland.

Dwulit said they are actively looking for sponsorship.

The festival runs July 27 and 28 at Government House in Fairfield and is free to the public. Find out more at artistreefestival.com.

READ MORE: Vancouver’s Winter Arts Festival is coming to Victoria for the first time



Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
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