Local artists will have their chance to show what they've been working on in the past couple of years, as registration is now open for the 39th annual James Weir Peoples Choice art exhibition.

The JWPC, which is the longest-running peoples choice art show in western Canada will be featured from January 5th until March 24th, 2023 in the Weyburn Art Gallery, located inside the Weyburn Credit Union Spark Centre.

City Curator and Arts Coordinator Regan Lanning said the forms need to be in by December 16th.

"That is coming up, but the art itself doesn't have to be dropped off to the Spark Centre until January 4th," she explained. "So anytime from like the 17th of December to the 4th of January, you can drop your work off at the front desk at this Spark Centre." 

She said there is no cost associated with entry, and you don't have to be a member of the Spark Centre to be part of gallery. In fact, anyone can go in and view the Weyburn Art Gallery's displays at any time without paying admission.

"It is open to anyone who resides in the southeast corner of the province."

In keeping with tradition over the past few years, the artists are asked not to sign their works or share photos of it on social media prior to the end of voting on March 17th at 5:00 p.m.

"We keep voting blind while voting is open," said Lanning. "I don't post the artist's name on the work because we want people to be voting for the art. We don't want you to be voting for your friend, right? I mean, vote for your friend, if you absolutely think they have the best piece in the show, but we want you to be voting for the art so we do keep the artist name off the works until the voting has concluded." 

She said this is the best-attended art show in town.

"We get the most views and then we get a lot of votes, usually well over 10 percent of Weyburn comes out to vote, and then with the online aspect, we get people from all around the world voting, which is wonderful to see."

Online voting, she noted, became a thing prior to the COVID protocols.

However, everyone loves a guided tour of an art exhibition, and Lanning said she gives tours to classrooms full of students and other groups.

"It's kind of a lesson in how to look at art and like how art is about more than just, you know, pretty pictures. It's about how the art makes you think, or what the art makes you feel, so we do a lot of work with the public." 

"If you have a community group that wants to come through, you are more than welcome to book a tour with me and I'll walk you through it and we'll talk about the different aspects of viewing art," she explained. "So because I do a lot of tours, in the application, it invites you to send in an artist's statement. So if you are entering a piece and you want to tell me about the work a little bit so that I have more information when I'm talking with the public about it, please do." 

She said the JWPC is open to any medium, but it needs to be an original. It can't be a paint night project, or even a painting of a photo you don't own the rights to, or a quilt made using a commercial pattern.

"I lovingly referred to the time between Christmas and New Years as the James Weir Peoples Choice crunch time," Lanning added. "I get a lot of people who put applications in because they know they're going to make something. They just don't know what they're going to make yet."

Again, that deadline is December 16th, the art needs to be in by January 4th, and the winners will be announced via live stream at 7:00 p.m. on March 24th, 2023.

Find all the details, including a link to the application, HERE.