A Cultural Shopping Feast
Walking along 2nd Avenue today you would be surprised to learn that 20 years ago the arts scene in Fernie was less than vibrant. Today, a stroll through our historic downtown is a cultural shopping feast.
Diversity is the name of the game in the Fernie Arts Scene and within a three-block radius you can find an array of makers and artists. Painters, stain glass artists, blacksmiths, photographers, weavers, felters, potters, leatherworkers, jewellers, Fernie represents it all.
This permanent collection of studios and galleries are great places to peruse, finding the perfect keepsake of your time in Fernie. Stop in in between bike rides or after a hike with a cup of coffee in hand from one of our local cafés.
Looking to do a culture crawl of Fernie? Why not start at the Fernie Arts Station? Originally a train station it was moved to 1st Avenue 30 years ago. The building has been reinvented to house a theatre, that hosts concerts year round, a gallery with a new exhibit every month as well as studio space for visual artists, potters, spinners and weavers. There is always something happening in this cultural heart of Fernie’s Arts Scene.
Walk out into Station Square and in the summer months you will find Ace Ferguson Studio’s bus parked on 6th Street. Climb aboard Fernie’s first mobile retail shop that is filled with art by Kate Moran, beads and findings, jewellery repair and more.
Turn left onto 2nd Avenue and on the corner is H Squared Gallery, the newest addition to the Fernie arts scene. H Squared showcases the artwork of local landscape painter Tara Higgins, as well as a dozen more Western Canadian artists and makers. From potters and glass blowers, to sculptures and woodworkers this eclectic curation is on a mission to bring bright, bold, beautiful works of art into your life and home.
Two doors down pop into Polar Peek Books and look up high. The bookstore has been showcasing local Fernie artists for over 10 years. Right next door is the Fernie Arts Co-op, home to over 40 artists and makers, they have everything from artists cards to handmade soaps to original artwork and so much more.
A few steps along you will find the fun and whimsical work of Leanne Stothert at Studio 562 alongside paintings by Liza Gareau-Tosh, hand-tooled and carved wood works by Erik Fait and string instruments by luthier Kim Kennedy.
Stay on 2nd Avenue to explore the photography of Brian Pollock, Stephanie’s Glass & Art Studio and don’t forget to pop into Green Petal who carry pieces by local potter Helena de Jong.
Like every town worth its cultural salt, head down Fernie’s side streets to discover more artists and makers. The Eye of the Needle located on 5th Street opposite the Fernie Heritage Library is home to Sandra Barrett’s iron and felt work. Yes, you have read that correctly, the true meaning of having a soft and hard side! Inside you will also discover the work of local glass artist Katherine Russell alongside a host of other BC artisans, including candle makers, more fibre artists and forgers.
After all that walking turn right onto 3rd Avenue and head to Mug Shots on the corner of 3rd and 6th. Over a well-deserved house made treat peruse the paintings of local artist Vanessa Croome and the illustrations of new local, Becca Davies. To complete your cultural tour head to 7th Street to admire the mural by local artist and printmaker Michael Hepher.
From the first Sunday in July until the beginning of September head to Rotary Park on Sundays, located just off the highway, for our farmers market. Over half the stalls are local artisans of all descriptions, alongside beautiful locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables and an array of food trucks.
I look forward to watching Fernie’s art and culture scene grow. It’s been a wild ride up until now and it only seems to be gaining momentum.
Tara Higgins has been part of Fernie’s art and culture scene since she arrived here 21 years ago. Quick with a paintbrush and always willing to get stuck into any project that adds to the vibrancy of Fernie her smile gives away her love of creativity and possibility no matter the activity.
To discover more along Fernie’s Art Walk, scan this QR code!
H Squared Gallery
Photo by Tara Higgins