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As the Number One Small Arts Town in Canada, Nelson Loves Our Artisans
Nelson and the entire Kootenay Lake region loves our artisans and crafts people. It's hard to pinpoint why our area is so artistically rich and diverse, but there's no doubt that we highly value the arts. There are many indicatons that our artisans are important to us:
- Selkirk College, our local higher education institution, includes the Kootenay School of the Arts as well as a nationally acclaimed Fine Woodworking program
- Craft Connection, a large and well established Artisan co-op on Nelson's main street.
- Artist studios in downtowns and rural areas throughout the region (Photo of local jeweller and artist Chris Komel).
- Touchstones Nelson has a gift shop with an array of products from local artisans and writers capturing stories in word and imagery.
- The Nelson District Arts Council presents a number of projects each year intended to foster the arts in Nelson and District including Nelson ArtWalk, Appetite for Art, the Nelson International Mural Festival, and more.
You Can't Swing a Cat Without Hitting an Artisan's Studio
Literally. Our area is awash in artisan shops and studios. The Craft Connection opened more than thirty years ago, and is still going strong, with prime real estate on Baker Street and a thriving membership. The store itself features more than 150 artists and artisans. Downstairs, Gallery 378 is always hopping with more fine art and larger pieces.
Another hot spot for artisans is Balfour, along Kootenay Lake between Kaslo and Nelson. There is no formal artisan collective in Balfour, but you'll immediately notice the "Blue A" road signs denoting artisan's studios along the route. The signs indicate that there is an atisan's studio within 3 kilometres of the highway. Kaslo, too, is chock full of artisans and craftspeople.
Shop Farmers Markets and Seasonal Craft Fairs
You can shop for our local artisanal works at many of our local downtown shops (in both Nelson and Kaslo) as well as in artisan studios in Balfour. But many of our local crafts people sell their wares seasonally at both farmers markets and the annual Christmas Craft Fairs that are held in late November in Nelson and Kaslo. Throughout the summer there is the popular Artwalk event in both Nelson and Kaslo as well as the Columbia Basin Culture Tour.
Public Art in Nelson and Kaslo
There is a large inventory of public art throughout Nelson, with sculptures, murals and art infrastructure created by both local and international artists. Walk about town and you'll be impressed and hopefully moved by what you see. Kaslo also has a collection of art throughout the village, with stores and artisan shops displaying their wares on Kaslo's vibrant streets.