By Lawrence Powell
If the measure of success is the size of the crowd, Bear River's Art Amongst the Vines was a major accomplishment in the tiny town that boasts of being the very spot that grapes were first planted in North America -- 400 years ago.
The crowd at Saturday's art opening spilled out onto the sidewalk, and inside it was shoulder-to-shoulder as the arts and wine patrons mixed with several dozen artists whose work covered the walls and spilled out onto the hardwood floor of the Rebekah Building.
Ken Flett's Viking piece, a lifesize sculpture, (see photo) appeared to be the talk of the show even before the artist himself arrived. The powerful piece seemed to dominate the space and reeked of history, seeming able to reach out and grab you in the present.
Paintings, pottery, Frank Muise's ash baskets, Janet Larkman's eight-foot tree, and Wayne Boucher's exploration of light, pulled eyes around the space, and exhibit chair Simone Wilson couldn't have been happier with the response to the eclectic display.
The event was organized by the Bear River Board of Trade, the Bear River Historical Society, and L'sitkuk First Nations. Tim Wilson greeted the public at the door as Louis Hebert, who protected by the Mi'kmaq, found the soil condidtions perfect for grapes.
The Saturday art opening was the first in a series of events planned for Bear River this summer. Other events include a re-enactment, symposiums, workshops, and demonstrations.