ART IN THE COUNTY (AITC) is an annual juried art exhibition and sale presented by the Prince Edward County Arts Council.
What began as an idea sparked by an art show elsewhere, Art in the County is now recognized as the premier art exhibition in Eastern Ontario. Since its inception in 1993, the show has grown in scope and stature, showcasing the highest quality works of art by Prince Edward County artists and artisans.
With advice from the long established Quinte Arts Council and seed money from the Community Development Corporation, the inaugural AITC Volunteer Committee (namely, Paul Adams, June Boddington, Bob Hintz and Estelle Klein) set about to plan the first show.
It was held in the lovely heritage space above the Picton Old Town Hall and for the next 18 years the space was converted annually into a fine art gallery displaying the best work of County artists. In 2012, the exhibition moved to its new home, a much larger gallery space above Books and Company on Picton’s Main Street.
In the show’s early years, only two-dimensional pieces (mainly paintings in oil and watercolour) were eligible for entry. Since then, the event has expanded to include art from an impressive range of media, including paintings in encaustic, oil, watercolour and acrylic; and works in glass, fibre, ceramics, pottery, mixed media, photography, wood, fabric art, sculpture and jewellery.
Only three Juror Awards were given in the early years. Today, three Canadian art professionals are solely responsible for the show’s content, as well as selecting the five Jurors’ Choice and five Honourable Mention award winners. Renowned Canadian artist and sculptor, Otto Rogers (now a resident of Prince Edward County) will select a winner for the Otto Rogers Award of Excellence. The People’s Choice Award is determined by visitor ballots and is presented to the artist whose work receives the most votes by the close of the exhibition.
Today, ART IN THE COUNTY is a signature event of the summer season in Prince Edward County. The show attracts thousands of visitors; generates meaningful opportunities for County artists, and provides economic benefits for businesses across the County.