Artists and art fans will be flocking to waterfront Steveston Village on Saturday, September 4, 2021 for one of Metro Vancouver’s coolest cultural happenings. The 11th annual Grand Prix of Art will see up to 80 creative-types from every skill level setting up their easels at designated outdoor spots throughout area—then painting whatever they see in front of them in a fascinating three-hour race against the clock.

Steveston Grand Prix of Art - Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca
Artists working against the clock. | Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca

Kicking off at 10:00am, visitors are invited to wander between the fevered artists, watching their creative processes as they craft unique art that might win a prize in one of three key categories: Masters, Open, and Youth. In this plein air competition, all paintings must be completed by the 3 1/2 hour deadline.

The public can view all the works at this free-entry art show. As a Covid safety precaution, the exhibition will be displayed outdoors this year under tents grouped according to Category, where viewers will also have their say in the judging with an opportunity to vote for the “People’s Choice Award”.

Steveston Grand Prix of Art - Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca
The contest is an intense and highly creative challenge. | Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca

What time should I get to Steveston?

The competing artists will be arriving with their paints and equipment at the Britannia Shipyards site at 9:00am. A virtual random draw is made to determine where each of them will be painting. Artists will begin with staggered time windows, the first group starting at 9:30 a.m. followed by two more 30 minutes apart. Spectators can watch the artists in action around the village anytime between 10:00am and 1:30pm.

Where exactly will the artists be?

They will be divided between 30 different outdoor locations concentrated along the waterfront. It won’t be hard to find them, but you can also check ahead via this handy location map on the event’s website. 

Steveston Grand Prix of Art - Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca
Many competitors find themselves with shoreline views to paint. | Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca

What kind of artists will be competing?

Up to 80 artists will be competing in this years Grand Prix of Art, covering a wide array of ages and skill levels. Look out for up-and-comers in the Youth category (ages eight to 18) plus many intriguing beginners, intermediates, and working artists in the highly diverse Adult Open category. The Masters category includes experienced painters from around the Pacific Northwest, each competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a chance to lift the coveted Dan Gray Cup.

Grand Prix of Art
The works will be available for purchase after the event is over. Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca

Can I buy the paintings?

Yes! At 1:30pm, the exhibition opens to the public and this will be your first opportunity to view all the works together. It’s also your big chance to purchase that painting you’ve fallen for: all the works will be for sale on a first-come-first-served basis and you can pick up your purchase at the exhibition’s close on September 4. Tip: if you have your heart set on a specific work, arrive early for a chance to buy it.

Steveston Grand Prix of Art - Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca
View all of the completed artwork at the end of the event. | Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca

Can I just look at the finished paintings?

Of course! The paintings will then remain on public display from 2:30pm until 5:30pm. Visitors will also be able to vote on their favourite works, and the winner of this People’s Choice Award will be announced on September 4, 2021.

How do I get to the event?

If you’re planning to drive to the Grand Prix of Art, there is some limited parking at Britannia Shipyards. Alternatively, you can park in the heart of Steveston Village and stroll alongside the Fraser River directly to the Shipyards site. Better yet, ride your bike or plan a transit journey via the TransLink website.

Watch the video below for a recap of the 2018 event!