Sidney Fine Arts Show fires up Friday

160 volunteers work 460 shifts to get the show together Oct. 12

Putting on a massive adjudicated art show is a team sport, one finely crafted by volunteer coordinators for the annual Sidney affair.

“This year we had about 160 volunteers plus our show organizing committee and our volunteer committee itself,” says Susan Burns, volunteer coordinator for the Sidney Fine Art Show. “Without the volunteers, literally there is no show.”

Those volunteers fill 460 shifts over the four days of adjudication in September and six days of intake, set-up, and the show itself in October.

As Burns explained, the adjudication process is quite involved.

“Each juror has a team,” Burns says. Each has a scribe who tabulates scores, while eight other volunteers move two-dimensional works to the juror and back to the display.

“The juror sits in one spot so he or she is not racing all over the auditorium,” Burns says. The three-dimensional art requires a walkabout with the volunteer scribe. This year’s show features more than 1,000 pieces.

READ ALSO: Sooke artist receives Order of B.C. Award

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The roster of volunteers skews toward the retiree – partly given the need for daytimes shifts – and the volunteer returnee.

“This year we had quite a substantial number of new volunteers which is quite encouraging,” Burns said. “You always need some new people coming in.”

This year they introduced online volunteer registration with, SignUpGenius, a program used elsewhere including the Sooke Fine Art Show and the Saanich Peninsula Arts and Crafts Society show.

“It saved us on our volunteer committee a lot of time. In the past we’ve had to do it with spreadsheets and emails and back and forth,” Burns said.

The hard work culminates in a Thursday evening treat for volunteers, patrons and sponsors in an opening night gala, Burns says.

“That night is a first glimpse for everyone involved to see the show actually hung. That’s a special evening. It’s recognition for all of the people who have contributed to the show,” Burns says.

The Sidney Fine Art Show, presented by the ArtSea Community Arts Council returns to the Mary Winspear Centre from Oct. 12 to 14.

The show is open to the public Friday, Oct. 12 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave. in Sidney. Admission is $8 per person, free for children 12 and younger. Visit for more information and galleries of previous winners.

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