Circle of Art returns to Crystal Beach

Sue Gleason has never participated in an art exhibition of any kind, despite spending years honing her skills.

But now, with a little help from organizers at the Circle of Art in Crystal Beach, she’s taken the leap and will be among the artists and artisans showcasing their work at Queen’s Circle on July 16.

“During COVID, I was painting a storm,” Gleason said. “It was relaxing for me.”

While the Circle of Art may be her first exhibition, Gleason has been painting “for years” and prefers to work in acrylics after experimenting with various mediums over the years.

“It’s just comfortable. I tried watercolor, but it just wasn’t for me.

For Kenny Hayden, the exhibit is another opportunity to show off his wire sculptures, something he picked up years ago after seeing similar works created by an Indigenous artist.

“I’ve had fun with it for about 25 years,” he said. “Now that I’m retired, I do it all the time.”

Bending and twisting yarn, he created everything from trees to dragonfly fairies. He also does custom work and he’s had some crazy requests.

“The weirdest commission I had was to create an aorta,” Hayden said. “It wasn’t for a doctor.”

He mounted the creation and splattered the canvas with red paint to create what he called a broken heart.

“He thought it was great.”

Gayle Martineau, vice-president of the Friends of Crystal Beach (FOCB), was happy to see the event return.

“The last show we had was in 2019,” she said.

The Art Circle started in 2015 with just 13 participating artists, Martineau said. This year’s exhibit will feature 35 artists and artisans from across Niagara.

“This event thrives on the support of local businesses and OLG bingo funding,” said Martineau.

The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes live entertainment, the Buds Kettle Corn and BBQ food truck, and door prizes donated by local businesses. Entertainment includes performances by Brook Aviles, Nancy Dunkle and Lulu Rafailidis.

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