Artists and art fans will be flocking to Steveston on September 22 for one of Metro Vancouver’s coolest cultural happenings. The 8th annual Grand Prix of Art will see around 100 creative-types from every skill level setting up their easels at designated outdoor spots throughout the 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.caArtists working against the clock. | Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca

Kicking off at 10:00am, visitors are invited to wander between the fevered brush-flourishers, watching their creative processes as they craft a unique artwork that might win a prize in one of three key categories: Masters, Open, and Youth. Known as a plein air competition, all paintings must be completed by the 1:00pm deadline.

The paintings are then transported to the Seine Net Loft at Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, where judging will be undertaken and winners announced. The public can view all of the works together at this free-entry art show, running until 6:00pm on September 22 and from noon to 4:00pm on September 23. There’s also a chance to vote in the People’s Choice Award—and purchase that painting you fell in love with while you watched it coming to life.

Steveston Grand Prix of Art - Photo: www.artisanphotography.caThe 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 at 9:00am. A random draw will then be made to determine where each of them will be painting. At 10:00am, each artist will be in place and ready to start. Spectators can watch the artists in action around the village anytime between 10:00am and 1:00pm.

Where exactly will the artists be?

They’ll be divided between 40 different outdoor locations. These range from the Britannia Shipyards and boardwalk to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site and various spots on Moncton Street. There will also be artists at London Landing and Garry Point Park. It won’t be hard to find them, though: free maps will be available at each painting site, and this handy guide will also be accessible on the Grand Prix of Art's website closer to the big day.

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

What kind of artists will be competing?

There will be around 100 artists competing in the Steveston Grand Prix of Art, covering a wide array of ages and skills. Look out for up-and-comers in the aged 8 to 18 Youth category, plus many intriguing beginners, intermediates, and working artists in the highly diverse Open category. The Masters category includes dozens of 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.

Can you tell me more about these Masters?

With a wide array of Masters competing this year, this category will showcase many different artistic approaches. These range from award-winning contemporary realist Edguardo Lantin to traditional watercolourist and illustrator Peggy Burkosky, whose work has been exhibited around the world. The trick is to visit as many artists as you can—in each category—and discover their unique interpretations of the area.

Steveston Grand Prix of Art - Photo: www.artisanphotography.caSteveston's rich history appears on many of the canvases. | Photo: www.artisanphotography.ca

Is it too late to enter as a competitor?

If you’re keen to dip your own brush in this highly creative contest, you can still register. The official registration deadline is ­­September 18. Participant fees range from $20 to $40 (including a post-painting lunch in the Seine Net Loft) and you can click here to sign-up. You can also register as an event volunteer using the same link (volunteers also receive lunch).

Can I buy the paintings?

Yes! From 1:00pm to 3:00pm on September 22, the Seine Net Loft becomes a post-painting party spot. There will be live music, the artists will be lunching, and the category winners will be announced. Visitors are fully welcome to attend this event (minus the lunch aspect) and this will be your first opportunity to view all the works together. It’s also your main 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 23. 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.caView 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 party will be concluded by 3:00pm on September 22 and the paintings will then remain on public display here until 6:00pm—as well as from noon to 4:00pm on the following day. Visitors will also have the opportunity to vote on their favourite works and the winner of this People’s Choice Award will be announced at 3:30pm on September 23.

How do I get to the event?

If you’re planning to drive to the Steveston 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 here, or plan your journey via public transit with TransLink's trip planning tool.