Huronia Festival of the Arts and Crafts, Kempenfest

Sherryl Hopper marks her 10th anniversary this year at the Huronia Festival of the Arts and Crafts, Kempenfest. For her, the outdoor event is the biggest show of the year.

“I love being down there – you wouldn’t do it for the money,” said Hopper, citing weather and tent issues – one year her tent went into the lake – but it doesn’t deter her from what she enjoys the most – interacting with people. “The ones that come into the booth, they are very interested in how I do certain things, how long it takes me to do a particular art form – do I do it from photographs, or make it up from out of my head – the abstracts I do.”

The Barrie painter has become known for her vibrant colour. Her favourite medium is watercolour because of its freedom. She paints landscapes and animals most of the time but she also does abstract in acrylic. Hopper plans on having a selection of all of it, in addition to smaller items such as prints and cards.

She started drawing as a child, enjoyed colouring and sketching and received some recognition for her talent but art went by the wayside in the business of raising children and working full time as an executive for a large company in Toronto.

Hopper grew up in Mimico, lived in Utopia for 10 years, and moved to Barrie 10 years ago to be closer to two of her three adult children – one lives in Calgary. She also has six grandchildren.

Hopper’s creative streak comes from her father, who went to Ontario College of Art in the 1930s but spent his career designing and building homes in Toronto. He also had a hobby as an inventor and was known for giving household items a different purpose such as turning the vacuum into a hovercraft.

Today Hopper teaches painting at the Barrie Art Club and privately in her home studio. She enjoys painting in part for the people she has met along the way.

“I’ve met so many nice people,” she said. ‘It’s (painting) something I have to do and I get very antsy when I can’t do it.”

Hopper’s booth, Number 5, called Art On Bayview after her home studio, is located at the beginning of the festival (a change from previous years), across from Victoria Street, near the Barrie Art Club. The Huronia Festival of the Arts and Crafts expands back to full size this year with 348 juried exhibitors, now that construction at the waterfront is complete. Founded by the Barrie Art Club, and run in conjunction with the Kiwanis Club of Barrie, it is a major fundraiser and both give back to the community. This year marks their 65th anniversary. It is the largest component of Kempenfest which also includes an antique section, children’s village, live entertainment, beer garden, food vendors and more.

The festival runs Aug. 3-6. Exhibits are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday to Monday. Visit and for full details.


photo: Sherryl Hopper will be showing her work at the Huronia Festival of the Arts and Crafts, Kempenfest, Aug. 3-6.

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