Arts on the Trail could be making a comeback this year after it was shut down for the past two years due to COVID and a year’s disruption due to the closure of the Elliot Lake civic centre in February 2019. The centre served as a home for art in the community with several studios for artists to create pieces and a gallery to display and sell them housed in the building.
A roof collapse in February 2019 forced the closure of the building and eventual demolition which meant Arts on the Trail was closed down from 2020 to 2022.
The Arts on the Trail tour was an annual, not-for-profit event created to promote the growth of artists, establish partnerships, contribute to the local economy and build community spirit.
Many sponsors and volunteers made this regionally recognized event a success every year. Hosted at various locations, people could find dozens of artists and their work accompanied by live musicians, demonstrations, First Nations exhibits, art studios, and a participatory community art project along the trail.
The tour was traditionally held annually on the last Saturday of September and coincided with leaves turning colour on display for those taking part in the self-guided tour in and around Elliot Lake that gathered diverse artists in a high-quality arts festival.
Kari Kluke, Elliot Lake’s director of recreation and culture, told council about an opportunity to resurrect the popular event at the council meeting Monday evening. Kluke said she has been approached by a community group willing to plan and operate the event.
“We’re hoping to utilize this as an opportunity to work with community groups to take over and support them to do so,” she said of a recommendation from the recreation and culture committee for the city to act as a sponsor for the event, donate $3,000 toward it and allow the Collins Hall to be used as part of the venue.
Council approved sponsoring Arts on the Trail and that city staff assist with finding community groups willing to take it on.
Acting Mayor Andrew Wannan said he is confident a community group or several will agree to organize it and the event could also include the city’s art groups.