When you’re a young artist, it can be tough to catch a break.
Just ask Patrick John Mills.
“When you’re that age, there’s not a lot of opportunities,” said the 36-year-old self-taught artist.
While he struggled for years, the painter is now established in his Hintonburg gallery — Patrick John Mills Contemporary Fine Art Gallery — and wants to help others who may be looking for a hand in getting started.
In its second year, this weekend’s Hintonburg Arts Festival — of which Mills is one of the organizers — does triple duty.
Held Saturday and Sunday, the festival exposes the works of young artists across the country while giving Hintonburg-area families a free weekend out and raising money for a local youth shelter.
Mills said that this year, the free event aims to raise $10,000 for Transitions Action Coalition.
New this year at the festival — which is held at Mills’ gallery and the surrounding area — is an art competition for young artists ages 14 to 24.
Artists have their work displayed in the gallery, and have the opportunity to sell it there, keeping 100 per cent of the profits, Mills said.
He put out the call for submissions on the City of Ottawa website and from there, it just spread, he said.
“I got over 100 entries,” he said. “I was kind of overwhelmed. I wasn’t expecting so many. We got entries from Newfoundland, Vancouver, Calgary, and all over Ottawa. To me, it shows that it’s getting harder and harder for artists and that there isn’t enough opportunities for the arts.”