Open letter re: Steveston Grand Prix of Art

July 21, 2016


A Open Letter to Mayor, Council and Staff.

It is with a heavy heart that I make public my intentions not to organize the Grand Prix of Art© in Steveston this year.  I understand the issue was brought to the attention of council at a recent meeting.  In the last three weeks I have been overwhelmed with inquiries and concerns about the event; it is humbling to see the outpouring of public support for this event.

In 2010 I made a commitment to brand and to sponsor the Grand Prix of Art© in the hopes that within five years we would have a series of these events across the province.   The idea was to have Steveston as the flagship event wrapping up the Grand Prix of Art© series held over the course of the summer.

The main criteria I set for the event and for the development of other similar events, to ensure they would be sustainable, hinged on a community first policy with three host partners:

  1. A committed Art Association/Guild that would be the prime beneficiary of the event in exchange for logistical, organizational, and volunteer support.
  2. A commitment from the Municipality to provide space, logistical, and in-kind or financial contribution, with an emphasis on a community first policy.
  3. A strong involvement from the local business community to contribute financially as host partners and to lend marketing and logistical support.

In 2012 the Municipality of White Rock approached me to host the event, but as it turned out this was not a good fit for the Grand Prix of Art©.  They hosted a similar event called “Paint the Town” but were not successful and folded due to a lack of interest from artists.  The same year Steveston hosted over 100 artists.

In 2015 we launched Grand Prix of Art©  in Delta, with the support of the Municipality, the Artists in the Village society, and the Ladner Business association.  On Sunday July 19, 2016, we hosted our second annual event in Delta with overwhelming community support: 86 artists attended, 58 volunteers, 12 community partners, and 24 location partners and thousands of spectators.  I would encourage you to visit our event website for an event summary and view some great event photos.

I am proud to know organizing and sponsoring this event that we have made a difference, inspiring artists, bringing community together and putting over $65,000 dollars directly into the hands of artists.

Steveston Challenge

In 2015 the City of Richmond retracted some of their critical support of the event, requesting to be removed as host partners, rejecting our request for location support in the form of providing tents (Rowe Rentals), and a limited contribution to on the ground support during the event.  We tried desperately to rescue the event by reaching out to the Steveston Community Centre, who agreed to lend and install the thirty tents required to pull off the September event.  As grateful as we for the support of the Community Society, plans for installation of these tents fell through and we were left scrambling to get the tents in place before the event. Although we have always had the support of individual businesses in Steveston we need more collective support from the wider business community and the Steveston Business Association. Last year the president of the Richmond Artist Guild informed me that their organization needed a break from the event, as after six years they were suffering from volunteer burn-out.  For these reasons, I’ve decided not to run the event this year in Steveston and take some time to re-evaluate our goals and partnerships.

I have learned a lot over the last eight Grand Prix of Art©  events, and at the end of the day as caretaker of the event it’s my responsibility to ensure that the integrity and efficiency of the event is executed to the highest possible level.  Other than provide opportunities for artists and local businesses, my overriding goal are to develop a sustainable model for the event, one that all stakeholders participate in and benefit from.  I am confident that with proper dialog and stakeholder interest the Steveston Grand Prix of Art©  could become a flagship event for the arts in the Province; however, when I started this event seven years ago I miscalculated the limitations of the bottom-up grassroots approach to building a lasting event.  If this event is going to continue in Steveston a new approach and sustainable strategy must be designed and developed in consultation with the different stakeholders.  I would encourage City Staff and Council members to review this event (and other grassroots events) and lets continue the discussion about policies, encouraging a bottom-up cultural strategy rather than a trickle down model which is so prevalent in Municipal, Provincial and Federal Art and Culture policy making,

Mark Glavina

Phoenix Art Workshop

8-3891 Chatham St

Richmond BC

V7E 2Z6


Sargy Mann, Ted talk never delivered

I hope you find this as inspirational as I did.  Sargy Mann’s  thoughts on human perception, particularly on how artist see differently is food for thought for all artists.



Doodle your life away


In our 19 years of business we have seen a lot of trends come and go, both in art and in buying trends.  A huge trend right now is the adult colouring book craze.  We have been pleasantly surprised with this latest trend, ordering more colouring books with each order.  It has definitely brought a whole slew of new customers though our doors, some looking for better quality pencil crayons or markers, some in search of more complicated patterns, and some (with their new-found passion) looking for a more advanced art classes.

At first I thought the trend was odd, but after thinking about it I started remembering about how I started in art as a kid with, yes, Doodle Art.  It lead me to drawing, which lead me to painting, which transitioned into sculpture and on and on.

In 1972 Glenn Anderson hit on the idea of colouring a black and white line drawing called “Ecology”, and recognized that the poster, partnered with the vibrant colours of felt pens, provided immediate creative satisfaction. Putting the two together in the highly recognizable tube proved to be the beginning of one of Canada’s great business success stories. This print alone would sell 1,000,000 copies around the world. The family (Glenn, father Frank, and mother Jean) trademarked and produced the Doodle Art kits in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

In 1973 the “Do your own thing in colour” craze caught on in North America, becoming a fad for all age groups; young teenagers, singles, families and seniors.

Throughout the next five years many new titles were introduced and received worldwide recognition during the expansion of sales into 16 countries that included the U.K., Europe, Japan, Mexico and Australia.

All of this encouraged people who perhaps had never thought of themselves as “artistic” to do something creative, and whether they kept it as the original hobby or continued to explore other art forms, some more creative exploration in the world is a wonderful thing.






Current Events November


November News Events:Well it’s been a quiet month for us here at Phoenix Art with not so many things going on, preparing for the new year and for our upcoming trips.  Mark will be travelling in south america for several months making his way down to Peru for our painting group meeting in Lima on March 8th.Chris Charlebois


Recent works at the Kurbatoff Gallery 

2435 Granville Street, Vancouver

November 19th to December 3, 2015

Opening reception is  Saturday November 21st – Artist in attendance.

2 – 4 pm

Our last event of the year is our Friday night art Party series coming December 4th

Mixed media – check out our classes page for more information.


Kaleidoscopes – free admission

November 21st

11am – 4pm

Steveston Community Centre

One of our Young Students has organized a fundraiser for Art Starts, a local non-profit organization introducing art to young people as a way of enriching their lives and exposing them to the world of creativity at an early age.

Several local artists have donated their painting for this exhibition this coming weekend at Steveston Community Centre.  Artist like Annie Tsia, John Beaty, Marv Skelton and many more have submitted work for this unique exhibition of local talent.  Come out and support the cause.



Mark’s Manuscripts April

Hello fellow artists,

When I originally planed this feature it was with the intent to pass on information to our  “art family”,  information about art supplies,  art ideas, and art techniques.   My last issue was focused on the idea of art practice;  however,  there comes a time when we have to perform!  This issue is about my journey (both literally and figuratively)  to find artistic purpose.

After 16 years running my business, focused on teaching, sharing my ideas about visual literacy; I found myself  battling the process of creativity, content and conviction in my artwork.  For me this journey starts with inspiration.

To get started and break me away from my business routine ….  I needed a strong dose of inspiration and a significant dose of pressure.  When  Richmond Doors Open approached me to participate in “Doors Open”,   my first instinct was to use all my other commitments as an excuse not to participate.   Struggling to find the motivation to get back into my beautiful studio; I had a change of heart knowing I need a goal  to kick start my creative process.

For the past 10 years I have been leading international painting tours to such exotic locations as Bali, Guatemala, Cuba and most recently Colombia just to name a few.  Over the last 10 years these excursions have provided me with continuing inspiration and a plethora of reference sketches and material.  Once I decided that my open studio event would  focused on the last 10 years of Phoenix Art travel;  creativity started to flow.  I started with compiling my old journals, location paintings and sorting through reference photos and realized with each piece;  what a big part these works play in my artistic journey.  My inspiration was a pile of location studies, sitting in a box in my Studio.  With ideas flowing, I now have the pressure I need to perform.  EEEEKS be careful what you wish for they say!

I am very excited to share with you some of my location work and excerpts from my travel adventure,  as well as  my recent studio painting.

Please Join me for Doors Open in my  Studio this June 7-8 as I share my journey and struggle to make meaningful art.

Open Doors Schedule

 Saturday June 7th – Sunday June 8th, 2014

Open Studio

10 am -  5 pm June 7 -8

Saturday June 7th – noon 2pm

Painting Demonstration

Mark Glavina

“Creativity, Content and Conviction”

Saturday June 7th -  6:00-7:00 pm

Slide Presentation

“10 years a Travelling Brush”

Saturday June 7th – 7:30 – 8:30 pm

painting excursion ~ launch party

” Travelling Bush 2015

join us to find out about our next painting holidays as we launch our amazing line up for 2015:  including Greece and Turkey; Peru; Vietmam and Cambodia and a return to Guatemala for Holy Week!

Sunday June 8th – noon – 2pm

Painting Demonstration

Annie Tsai our 2015 instructor for Vietnam and Cambodia

presents this  painting demonstration

” Reference and Reflection”


Studio location

3rd floor ~ 12211 1st Ave. Historic  Steveston Village, Richmond

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