Artists and art fans will be flocking to shoreline Steveston Village on the weekend of July 22 for one of Metro Vancouver’s coolest cultural happenings.
The 13th annual Grand Prix of Art will see up to 125 creative-types from every skill level unpacking their easels at designated outdoor spots—then painting whatever they see in front of them in a fascinating three-hour race against the clock.
This year’s event, with its record-breaking number of participants, has been moved to a new summertime slot. But that’s not the only change visitors will notice. There will also be a full-on festival vibe, with live music, food trucks and a special market complete with artsy vendors and demonstrations.
Competition day kicks off at 10:00am, with spectators wandering between the artists and watching their creative processes as they craft unique works that might win a prize in one of three key categories: Masters, Open and Youth. All paintings must be completed before the three-hour deadline is reached.
Following the fevered contest, the public can peruse all the works at a free-entry art show immediately after the competition and also throughout the day on Sunday July 23. At this always-popular exhibition, viewers can vote for the People’s Choice Award and even buy works they’ve fallen in love with.
What time should I get to Steveston?
The artists will be arriving with their paints and equipment from 8:30am onwards on July 22. A random draw will then be made to determine where each of them will be painting, and they will be in position and starting their works at 10:00am. Spectators can watch the artists in action around the village anytime between 10:00am and the deadline three hours later.
Where exactly will the artists be?
They will be divided into small groups between 35 different outdoor locations. These will be along the waterfront and around the village between Garry Point Park and London Landing. Spectators will be strolling or biking between the locations, and each location will be marked on this handy map.
What kind of artists will be competing?
Up to 125 artists will be competing this year, 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 Open category. The Masters category includes experienced and celebrated painters from around the Pacific Northwest.
Is there anything else to see?
Yes! Historic Steveston is a beautiful spot to visit at any time of year, of course. But during the Grand Prix of Art, there will also be a fun festival feel in and around the village. That includes live music from popular performers Crabgrass, Nikita Alfonso and Blue Dirt Girl on July 22. Singer-songwriter Moira Chicilo will also be performing during the art exhibition on July 23.
In addition, there will be three food trucks to check out on day one of the event, alongside the village’s full menu of excellent cafes and restaurants. And don’t forget that Steveston’s regular attractions––from the Steveston Tram to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site and from Steveston Museum to the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site––will also be open.
Tell me more about the arts and artisan market
Located in the Festival Field area of Britannia Shipyards, the outdoor market on July 22 will include a dozen or so carefully curated vendors and demonstrators. Spend some time here and peruse everything from clay creations to intricate woodwork and from cool crochet to amazing jewellery. The demonstrations will include displays of calligraphy, silkscreen art and more.
Can I just look at the finished paintings?
Of course! You can get your first glance at all the works from 3:00pm to 5:30pm on July 22 at the free-entry Penta Builders Group Exhibition inside the historic Seine Net Loft Building at Britannia Shipyards. This art show will also be open from 10:00am to 4:00pm on Sunday July 23, when (at 3:30pm) the winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced.
Can I buy the paintings?
Yes! Once the event’s exhibition kicks off, all the works will be available for sale on a first-come-first-served basis. You can then pick up your unique purchase when the art show closes at 4:00pm on July 23. Tip: if you have your heart set on a specific work, arrive early for a chance to buy it.
How do I get to the event?
There will be limited parking available around the village on Grand Prix day; it’s much better to arrive on transit (use the handy Translink trip planner tool) or hop aboard Richmond’s free Discovery Shuttle bus.
Even better, why not jump on your bike? Steveston can be reached via some great cycling routes and your bike is a great way to zip between the artists on the big day. There will be a free Bike Lock service at Britannia Shipyards during the event, plus an additional gratis Bike Valet available at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery.
Watch the video below to learn more!
Last Updated on July 11, 2023 by Tourism Richmond