John Vickers loves Victoria; but it’s the kind of love that acknowledges some hard truths.
“It’s a beautiful City with amazing people, architecture, culture and potential. Still, if we don’t keep working to create excitement and vibrancy, Victoria’s downtown can, and almost certainly will, fall into the sort of decline that other major cities have experienced,” says John. “We need to keep downtown relevant.”
It’s why he’s working so hard to create a series of festivals for downtown Victoria. His vision is to host three large, internationally renowned festivals that will be spaced throughout Victoria’s Spring, Summer and Fall.
Two of these festivals are now a reality. In 2012 John gave the City the second annual International Buskers Festival. The acts were an amazing collection of talent from around the world and over 140,000 spectators flocked to downtown to watch the entertainment, eat in the restaurants, shop, and generally discover, or rediscover, downtown Victoria.
Then last September, John and his highly skilled team presented a second production; the Victoria International Chalk Art Festival.
John got the idea for the Chalk Art Festival while walking down Government Street. He watched local chalk artist Ian Morris perform his art work and decided that he needed to know more about this art form. A little research told him that the biggest Chalk Festival in North America was in Sarasota so naturally John hopped on a plane for Florida.
It’s where he met Denise Kowal, the organizer of the Sarasota Chalk Festival. It didn’t take John long to strike a partnership with Denise to act as Artistic Director for his event and with her assistance, the inaugural festival was very well received in downtown Victoria, hosting some of the world’s best street artists along with many local talents.
“Like many festivals, there is a significant volunteer and organizational effort behind our Chalk Art event. We are already busy preparing for our much expanded festival this September and it’s truly going to be a feast for the eyes”, says Vickers.