Artist-Stewart Jacobs, Squamish
Artist-Stewart Jacobs, Squamish

The Art of Whistler
By Jules Older
Featured in: SNOW High Season Issue 2013

Whistler, the jewel in the crown of coastal British Columbia, is an easy place to love: Two marvelous ski mountains, miles of forested glens, an absolute gem of a pedestrian village, and beside the highway from Vancouver, the dark, aquatic beauty of Howe Sound.

An added beauty is Whistler’s art. This renowned ski town of the Pacific Northwest is an art-lover’s delight, standing far above the madding crowd. With nearly a dozen galleries in

Bear Paw Pot by Patrick Leach
Bear Paw Pot by Patrick Leach

Whistler Village alone, an afternoon off-slope can be easily given over to the appreciation of sculpture, contemporary oils, photography, and glass. The most notable works are often by artists who care about or are influenced by this exceptional corner of Canada.

The art of Whistler begins with pieces available almost nowhere else—the traditional creations of the region’s First Nation tribes. The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center is both museum and shop, featuring the art and craft of the coastal Squamish and the more inland Lil’wat First Nations tribes. Within the building—itself a marvel of wood and glass—native carving and fabric are on display and for sale; step outside, and observe them being created.

Next is the pedestrian-friendly Whistler Village. Galleries offering an unparalleled variety of artistic style and form abound, one an easy stroll to the next. In these gallery spaces, European masters rub shoulders with local photographers, Western Canadian painters with American sculptors.

explore british columbia skiing
The third station is off the beaten path. Whistlerites buy their garden soil, roofing tile, and increasingly… their art at Function Junction. The gallery owners are passionate and articulate and the artists themselves make frequent guest appearances.

While many of Whistler’s featured artists live along B.C.’s Pacific Coast, two consistently in the spotlight choose Whistler as their home. One is internationally renowned photographer Blake Jorgenson; the other is multimedia master and acrylic painter, Chili Thom.