"Abstract No.9," mixed media, by Fonthill artist Els Swart. SUPPLIED

The Cultural vibrancy of Pelham will be on display and online in May.

Recognized as one of the premiere events in Ontario for hosting nationally and internationally acclaimed Canadian artists, the Pelham Arts Festival will run from May 1 to May 15, 2021. Participating artists will be profiled along with their work in a new online format, and the public will be able to purchase original pieces directly from their creators.

Raised in Pelham and now residing in Niagara on the Lake, Jennifer Emily Atelier will be displaying her artwork at the online 2021 Pelham Arts Festival. SUPPLIED

Artists who registered for the 2020 festival, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, are present on the festival’s current website, and many of them are returning for 2021, said festival chair Heidi TeBrake. She expects between 50 and 80 artists to be involved, and each will have their own interactive page on the revised website.

Although the organizers were saddened to cancel the in-person show due to pandemic restrictions, they have extended the online version to two weeks (May 1 to 15), rather than exclusively the Mother’s Day weekend as in the past.

Annual attendance at recent festivals has been significant, with some 2000 visitors drawn to the Meridian Community Centre for the 2019 show, in addition to artists and volunteers.

“The event has been very well-attended by local people, and also those from outside of the Niagara region, said TeBrake. “We received comments that festival visitors were quite impressed by the town, and enjoyed dining at local restaurants.”

Artists and artisans continue to support the fundraising efforts of the Pelham Art Festival Committee by donating 15 percent of every artwork sale.

Since its inception, the festival has reaped $440,000.

“The majority of money raised has gone to the Pelham Library system,” said TeBrake. “That’s how it started 35 years ago, and then we introduced scholarships for graduating students at E.L. Crossley, Notre Dame, and Niagara College who are pursuing studies in the fine arts.”

Fine Arts on visual display will include not just paintings, but ceramics, glassworks, jewelry, and sculpture.

Details are available by contacting TeBrake at 905-328-8177, or at the festival’s website, pelhamartfestival.com