Busy as The Buzz

The place, for lack of better phrasing, was as busy as a beehive.

While the exact numbers weren’t in from last Friday’s reception, it sure seemed that the Jasper Art Gallery had as many attendees on its two floors as the number of paintings that it had – and still has – on its walls. The evening’s social event had the Jasper Artists’ Guild (JAG) hosting dozens upon dozens upon dozens of people for The Buzz, its yearly art exhibit that accepts submissions from any Jasperite young or old.

The success of the show offers much to corroborate the notion that there are more artists out there in the community than those who are JAG members.

This is the third year in a row that local artist Hilary Blair has had her works displayed in the annual show. The Buzz, she says, has been good to her over the last few years. The Jasper Food Tours guide has two of her acrylic stained glass paintings in the current show.

“It's really important. I also really feel inspired when each year it seems like it grows bigger and bigger, and there's always such diversity with people’s styles,” she said.

“You really see the talent that we have here in Jasper because it's not just the members that submit: anyone can submit. It's really, really awesome to see a whole wide variety of people's styles from all different walks of life here in Jasper.”

Blair moved to town in 2019 with her artistic inspirations resting in the mountains. Her lifelong passion for art had been put to hobby status but it has since become more and more of a serious endeavour, the timing of which corresponds to her time in Jasper.

She first showed in The Buzz in 2020, and has come back to the annual show repeatedly. She has become an associate member of JAG since then.

She’s not alone. Her pieces shared gallery space with fresh landscapes, metal and wood sculptures, a large portrait of a friendly-looking black dog and a sketch of a snowboarder whose deck showcases its own vista of the Rockies. That last piece was produced by a 10-year-old.

Blair said that she appreciates JAG for this opportunity and for others that have helped her move her artistry forward.

“I've met with a couple of the artists so far and just gotten some tips in terms of how to make a portfolio, submit a proper portfolio, finding my style, things like that and working with the other artists as well just see how they work and where they started from.”

Her current project features iconic landmarks or views of Jasper translated into her stained glass style.

The Buzz will remain on display until Feb. 12. After The Buzz, JAG will be hosting what it calls the “Hangover” with works by JAG member artists only remaining on the walls in a new curation. They will stay on display from Feb. 16 through until Feb. 25.

Editor’s note: The reporter is related to a member of JAG and one of the exhibiting artists in The Buzz.

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh