Kitchener’s oldest art walk returns for its 21st year, debuting local talent

The Frederick Art Walk, Kitchener’s oldest art walk, returns next week after a pandemic hiatus and subsequent adjustments allowed for a breath of fresh air within the event.

An annual art walk showcasing Kitchener’s artistic talent, exhibitions include an array of hand-crafted works for sale like jewellery, pottery, fabric art, textile crafts, paintings, visual arts, photography, stained glass, fused glass, and woodworking.

“Art isn’t just, you know, traditional stuff like painting … It’s the practical stuff that you bring into your home and it lives with you,” said Christa Ptatschek, this year’s event coordinator. “And I think that a lot of the offerings on the Art Walk really reflect all of those things.”

A three-kilometer walking tour spanning across Victoria and Krug Streets, Lancaster Street, East Avenue and Indiana Street in Kitchener’s Central Frederick neighborhood, organizers say the walk typically showcases between 80 and 90 artists. Free parking is available at the Frederick Mall or any of the houses included on the tour.

“One thing that’s really unique about the Central Frederick neighborhood is the age of the houses and just the style of them,” said Ptatschek. “And so one of the fun things about (the walk) is creating an opportunity to invite people into homes in the space.”

Each stop is identified by a letter on an interactive map found on their website. At House P. on Chapel St, attendees will find works from four local artists including Jen Butler’s Indigenous beadwork, abstract paintings inspired by artist Alex Wasilka’s daughter, and mixed media decor from Ayse Sevin.

“I think we’ve modeled what a really good artwork looks like, in that (the event) really is focused on having high-quality art,” said Ptatschek. “What sets us apart is there’s such a strong community aspect.”

While the board behind the Frederick Art Walk makes 21 years look easy, their pandemic hiatus allowed them to make some necessary changes to the event’s format- namely its timing. Typically held in November, last year’s event was held outside in October, a decision that was made permanent simply because the weather is better.

“It was actually really nice to realize that we, the board, had something with longevity to it,” said Ptatschek. “There are people who come back year after year after year because they want to see particular artists and they want to see what new artists are doing.”

Ptatschek’s favorite memories are when she sees the children of former artists return to make their debut.

“It’s really lovely to see because they’re not doing the same things that parents did either like their work is very different,” said Ptatschek. “You can really see the evolution of what’s considered art, how art is produced and so all of that is really exciting to us.”

The walk also supports local charities with the donations collected from each show. Last year, monetary contributions went towards The Healing of the Seven Generations.

You can find more information about the event here.

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