10 years, 40 artists, one summer day

Art on the Farm in the Columbia Valley near Chilliwack celebrates its 10th year

There's always great music at Art on the Farm.

There's always great music at Art on the Farm.

Picture the scene: you’re standing in Columbia Valley in the middle of summer, surrounded by hazelnut trees and the greenest grass you’ve ever seen. Gently weathered barns and fences stand in the distance, charming and cozy. It’s brilliantly sunny and peaceful—one of the most quiet, secluded neighbourhoods in Chilliwack, tucked around the side of Cultus Lake past the beaches and popular hiking spots.

But on Saturday, Aug. 16, it will be anything but quiet.

This cozy, peaceful farm will soon be hustling and bustling with visitors from all over the valley as they meander between trees and tables, simultaneously enjoying the work of local artists, an a cappella group belting out contemporary classics in four-part harmony, and maybe even a fresh scone from a local bakery.

It’s all part of the 10th annual Art on the Farm—and according to organizer Minda Chittenden, it might just be the best year for it yet.

The tradition has local roots and a simple mandate. Every year the Columbia Valley farm opens its gates and arms to a multitude of visitors with one goal: to spread the art and talent of the valley in a meaningful, creative way.

As Chittenden explains, the event has a funny—and exciting—way of growing into new shapes and surprises every year.

Blackberry picking? Check. Local theatre performers and musicians? Check. Bellydancince? Bagpipes? An attendee who brings an accordion and asks if he can play in the field for the afternoon? Check, check, check.

“We try to get as many local artists as we can, and we’ve got a pretty wide variety,” Chittenden says. “It’s got a really nice vibe, is what people keep saying—it’s very chill, compared to a lot of other events. Come and stay as long as you want. We’re not rushing people out of the farm. You can bring a picnic if you want, you can pick as many blackberries as you want.

“There’s no cellphone coverage in the valley, which I think helps people relax,” she adds with a wry grin. “You can’t really focus on anything else except where you are, and you take your time and enjoy it.”

There will be artisans from all over the valley setting up displays of their wares, as well as interactive activities for all ages. A side of the horse barn will be transformed into a giant mural over the course of the day, with a little help from attendees and and artists alike. Other artisans will be doing demonstrations—throwing pottery and spinning wool. There’s even an unofficial petting zoo: goats and other small animals wandering around looking for attention.

It’s a labour of love put together by a small team of people—for the most part all hailing from the same family and group of friends.

Chittenden says she was first inspired by a similar event on Pender Island called Art on the Fence, where local artists hung, strung, and stapled their art to fences and barns for public viewing.

“So we thought, let’s give it a go,” she says. “There are so many artists that need a venue, and especially a more casual and affordable venue to display their work.”

It’s grown and evolved over the years, from 20 artists to 40—a small sample expanding into a larger showcase of local artists.

“I think we’re stable at about 40 artists now, and that’s about what we can handle,” she says with a smile. “We want to keep the event free, and we want to keep it community-oriented; we just keep trying to change it every single year to make it different.

“We’re always learning about new talent, every single year. People come out of the woodwork that I’ve never met before, and I’ve made some really good friends.”

• Art on the Farm takes place at 1162 Iverson Rd. in the Columbia Valley on Aug. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but organizers suggest bringing cash in case something on a vendor’s table catches your eye or you feel like having a bite to eat. For more information, visit www.artonthefarm.ca or email info@artonthefarm.ca.

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Holger Schwichtenberg and his son Philip talk in the barn of the 150-acre Schwichtenberg farm. This farm is one of many throughout B.C. that support more than 12,500 jobs across the province in the dairy industry. (Contributed Photo/B.C. Dairy Association)
Agassiz dairy farm a model of care for environment, animals, and family

Farm is part of a dairy sector centred in the Fraser Valley, supporting 12,500 jobs province-wide

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Most Read