Many artists had their first time attending annual Arts Alive Festival

Aug. 19, 2023, by Kyler Emmerson
To read the article on the Langley Advance Times click HERE

It was Aldergrove resident Sheryl Stevenson’s first time showcasing her artwork at the annual Arts Alive Festival.

She’s always loved drawing and painting since she was a child, and after a break to raise her kids she changed her style in 2020.

“I decided to start something new with adding the more colourful dimension to it,” Stevenson said.

She added that her family pets inspired her current work.

“I love to try painting new things and being able to capture things that are memorable to people, particularly pets right now,” she shared.

Stevenson was one of many artists with tents along the one-way strip of Fraser Highway in downtown Langley City, which was closed to vehicle traffic for the event.

Sichen Grace Chen also had her paintings on display for the first time.

Nicole Hutton, office manager at Langley Arts Council, said they have attended Arts Alive for at least five consecutive years now and it’s a great opportunity to meet artists.

“We are an arts umbrella for both the City and Township… we offer free and paid programming for the community, so it's a great opportunity,” she said.

Nicole Hutton (centre) and members of the Langley Arts Council were providing information on free and paid programs during the Arts Alive Festival on Saturday, Aug. 19. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)

Langley Writers Guild was recruiting members during the event because numbers have dwindled since the COVID pandemic, explained treasurer Roy Harrison.

They are also looking for a new meeting space, as their location at Douglas Recreation Centre is closing.

“We encourage people to write and share their writing, and we also publish books every few years,” Harrison said.

Writers of all skill levels are welcome to join, he added.

Ken Johnson and Bruce Kilby, local novelists, were doing book signing at the Arts Alive Festival on Saturday, Aug. 19. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)

Local novelists Bruce Kilby and Ken Johnson had a tent this year to display their book series for all ages, and also signed guests’ copies.

The two authors were initially song writers and came together through an offer Johnson received to write a book on his tooth fairy collectible he made for kids to save their teeth.

Kilby said they have two books in the works, one is a science fiction and the other a crime mystery.

The drawings in their books are available for download to colours as well.

“This is a really good show, I wish [there] was more,” Kilby said.

Teri James, executive director of the Downtown Langley Business Association (DLBA), said about 35,000 people attended the festival throughout the day.

“Arts Alive was the biggest and best it’s ever been this year, and the feedback has been extremely positive,” she said.

“We want to thank everyone for coming to the event, and a special thank you to the sponsors and volunteers. We can’t bring this event to the community without you!”

Planning for the 2024 festival starts in September.

“We’re not going to fix anything because it sure isn’t broken. It was an awesome event this year,” James said.