What’s New in the Gift Shop? May ’18

Want a unique gift for mom? How about Red Wine Truffle chocolates that spell out how you feel about her? We have a these and a number of other flavours from Doodlebug Chocolates.

We also received a new batch of jewelry from Sienna Estes. Sienna is a graduate of the Kootenay Studio Art jewelry program and offers finely hand-crafted silver items, some with gold pieces or precious stones. Come and check out her work and the work of our other silver smiths, including Lily Andersen, Elaine Wigle, Kate Enewold and Jocelyn Vielleux. They are all magnificient.

The Gift Shop also carries beaded jewelry as well that is perfect for everyday wear. Castlegar’s own Joan Snyder recently brought in more stock. The Gallery has one of the largest selections of jewelry in Castlegar.

The Gallery also carries a large selection of pottery and functional ceramics. Andrea Bryant now has a collection of bowls with lovely lacy decals incorporated into her work. Andrea is a multi-talented artist working in clay, creating furniture and more.

There is a sale in our Gift Shop from May 1 to 12. It’s a great time to find a Mother’s Day gift, something for the recent grad or the perfect wedding gift. It’s also a great time to spoil yourself. Come in and take advantage of the sale.

What’s New in the Gift Shop – April 2018

This month, we had a new artist approach us to sell her work in the Gift Shop. Fabiana Chagas amazed us with her story of how she left her work as a lawyer in Brazil to study ceramics at Kootenay Studio Arts in Nelson. This was obviously a big shift in her life but one she made consciously to turn her life toward art and nature. Her body of work reflects the many influences she has had over the years of her training. The result is a line of functional artworks that are intended for daily use in the kitchen and home.

We hear so many positive comments about the shop and appreciate the feedback. We want to make your visit here a pleasure every time you come. See you soon!

Gallery Lounge – Marian Craft

The Kootenay Gallery has been fortunate to have Marian Craft give her time and energy for over 17 years as a volunteer, Board Member and bookkeeper.  Marian and her husband Ed semi-retired here in Castlegar twenty-four years ago, after years of moving throughout BC. At a time in her life when most people fully retire, Marian followed her calling and became ordained as an Anglican Priest in 2017.

How did you get involved with the Gallery?

All throughout my life, I’ve connected through art. I took painting classes, I went to exhibitions and so on. In around 2000, Derek Lepsoe at the church asked me if I’d help at the Gallery. It had just re-opened after it’s closure and they needed help with setting up the Gift Shop. Sandy Korman and I worked hard. We even took a trip to the East Shore to find artisans. Shortly after I volunteered, I became a Board Member and aside from a couple of years as Bookkeeper, I’ve been on the Board ever since.

What do you like best about being on the Board?

I like the camaraderie and I like how it gets things done. I love seeing how it has grown. When I started, we were on a shoe string budget, with a strict business plan. I’ve enjoyed watching it grow. The Gift Shop has always fascinated me and my husband Ed. I love to see the variety of work done – pottery, art,  jewelry. There’s so much talent in the area.

What are you looking forward to?

The move to something bigger and more visible. Continued growth and more involvement in the community. I look forward to coming to the openings, especially to the kids’ one. When I think about the struggle we started with to now, it’s just WOW!

Thank you Marian, for you dedication. Your long-term experience is invaluable.

Gallery Lounge with Judy Wearmouth

This month, we are featuring a long-time Board Member and a woman who is familiar to many in our community. Judy Wearmouth has been a part of the Kootenay Gallery Board since 2003. Born in England, Judy moved to Canada with her husband and three children. Judy worked for the Castlegar 29 years, presiding as Head Librarian for twenty-five of those years.

How did you get involved with the Kootenay Gallery of Art?

Well, I have always been very interested in all the arts. When I was retiring from the Library in 2003, Sandy Korman, who was the Executive Director at the time, made a personal request. I’ve taken a couple of breaks to have hip operations and for a while, I was on the Board as a Member-at-Large but now I’m back on the Board as a full Board Member.

That’s fortunate for us. What do you enjoy about being on the board?

It’s very stimulating and fun. I like the camaraderie of the board. I also enjoy feeling as if we are doing something for the community.

You are on the Fundraising Committee. Why did you volunteer for that one?

I’m not afraid to ask for money and I’ve initiated quite a few events. The Gallery gets the majority of their funds from grants but they are quite specific as to what the money can be used for. They have to be used for specific operating costs or specific projects. The Gift Shop is wonderful but it doesn’t make enough money to fully support our needs. Through our fundraising, we can have more flexibility to arrange art exhibitions beyond those ones that are funded or to do special programming or to do miscellaneous things, like planning the relocation.

What fundraising activities have you been working on recently?

I’m on the committee that is organizing the Monday Night at the Movies. We showed Maudie in September which was well attended. We’re hoping for a good turn out for all of them, including Their Finest.

We had organized the Great Dinner Lottery but unfortunately we had to post-pone that event. I went to a similar event organized by Selkirk College and it was a lot of fun so I’m looking forward to putting that on later.

Are there any events coming up?

We are talking about doing another Lottery similar to the one we ran two years ago. And there is Soup for the Soul coming up in February.

Thank you Judy, for both the interview and for being so effective on our Fundraising Committee. We appreciate the dedication and spirit that you bring to the board.

Gallery Lounge with Linda Miller

This month we interview Board Secretary Linda Miller

Linda Miller has been an integral part of the Kootenay Gallery Board since joining in 2014. Linda took on the task of being the Secretary for which we are grateful.
Linda, her husband Rick and two daughters moved to the area in 1993. She has spent 42 years nursing and continues to work in semi-retirement.

How did you get involved with the Kootenay Gallery?

I’ve come in to the Gallery off and on over the years. I paint, I draw. I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated art in all forms all my life. It’s the most amazing thing to see how people create. I appreciate the creativity and thought processes that go into it. I’m semi-retired now so I thought I could contribute my skills to the Gallery Board.

What do you enjoy about being on the board?

I enjoy working together with a group of people with a common goal. I like seeing the progression of projects we’re working on. I want to see the completion of the relocation project, not having a clue in the beginning how it would come about. Since sitting on the board I’ve gained an appreciation of all the connections and networks within the community. We’re such a diverse group with a variety of backgrounds but we all have the same commitment to our goals.

What strengths do you bring to the board?

I’m a hard worker – I don’t mind work. Give me a task and I’ll do it. I’m also practical minded. I’m the one who asks “Why would you want to do that?”

Those are great skills, Linda. We’ve definitely benefited from them. What excites you about the relocation project?

I think it will raise our profile so people can see all the possibilities the gallery has to offer. It will be a better place for local artisans to be promoted. It will be a central point in the community to showcase the huge talent pool that we have in the area. I see it as a comfortable place to exhibit art – I’m hoping anyone in the community can come, feel welcome and see what’s going on. We’ll also be able to offer more programs – we’ll have the space and a better location.

Thanks, Linda. We appreciate all that you bring to the board.


The Last Day

Today, on July 29th, is the last official day of 150+ Creative Acts. While us at the Kootenay Gallery of Art are pretty excited to move on to the next project, we’re also sad to see this one go. We’ve seen so many unique and colourful things from the local community and it has inspired us to foster creativity in our own lives as well. I, Emma Chapman, the summer student who was hired here to work mainly on 150+ Creative Acts, especially appreciated this project as I feel closer to myself now because of how humbling and accepting this community project has been.

So, from one creative thinker to another (you!), don’t stop creating, and I hope you enjoyed this project as much as we have.

150+ Creative Acts’ First Workshop of the Summer

On June 10th we had our very first workshop for 150 Creative Acts and it was so successful! At the Plein Air Paint Out at the Kootenay Gallery of Art, we had a good handful of local artists come and set up anywhere they liked on the property and paint the beautiful scenery we have here. It was a little rainy that day as well, so we set up a station indoors for those who’d rather paint still-life (or stay out of the rain). It was so interesting to see the different art styles and attitudes brought into each artwork – we had a lot of fun. Pictures from the event are up in our Photo Gallery! We plan on hosting at least one more Paint Out before the end of the project.

Another thing worth noting is the opening of the 150+ Creative Acts show in the Kootenay Gallery of Art on Friday, June 16th! In the large gallery will be an exhibition of professional artists’ work and their idea of what Canada 150 means to them; in the small gallery we will have participation tables where visitors can come in and tell us why you’re grateful to be in Canada, draw some beautiful pictures, and/or write some poetry/stories. We will also have a craft table set up for those avid crafters. All of these will count toward 150 Creative Acts.

Check back for more news!

Sunfest 2017 was a Success!

Thanks to everyone who visited our tent last weekend for Sunfest 2017! We had over a hundred visitors and 68 participants in our crafts! Those 68 people will be counted toward 150 Creative Acts, so we’re almost at 150, and then we can make our first birthday candle!

Check out our Photo Gallery for pictures of the event and some visitors showcasing their creations!

Kootenay Gallery Lounge – Maggie Shirley

Curator/Assistant Maggie Shirley (right) with ED Val Field and artist Tsuneko Kokubo




The Gallery Lounge

Maggie Shirley joined the Kootenay Gallery in 2015 after moving to Castlegar. Maggie had lived in the Kootenays, in and around Nelson throughout the 90’s. In 2001, Maggie spread her wings and moved to Ireland for seven years where she studied art. In 2008, she returned to Canada and lived in Banff and Kelowna before returning to the Kootenays.

How did you get involved with the Kootenay Gallery?
I’d been to the Gallery off and on over the years but when I moved to Castlegar, I was looking for work and also to get involved with the community. I joined the board and a few months  after that, when (former assistant) Joelle Beaulieu had to leave, I applied for the job of Gallery Assistant and luckily, I was hired.

What do you enjoy about your job?
Just about everything! My job now includes curatorial duties which is both a challenge and a delight. I love working with Val. She’s the cat’s pajamas. And the Board is so great – it works together well and we all respect each other. We have great discussions and we’re moving ahead on projects but in a wise and responsible manner. I also enjoy that I get to do curatorial projects that fuel the artist in me, like 150+ Creative Acts.

The 150+ project is happening at the moment. How does this relate to curating?
I have several passions in my curatorial and artistic practice. One of the is community-engaged or socially-engaged work which means that I like to establish projects where the public are actively involved in making things. For a long time, I think some people have felt excluded from art and art galleries. I believe they should be open and welcoming to as many people as possible, places and activities where we can experience fine quality art by professionals and also celebrate art and creativity of everyone. Art has a greater impact on people if they can respond to it or engage with it, rather than being a passive viewer only. This goes against the traditional notion of a gallery. Art galleries can have  important roles to play in a community as spaces where relevant issues are examined and new ideas are developed. At the same time,  we can move art outside the gallery walls to public spaces and digital spaces – like we have with Sculpture Walk and in other experiential ways, like I’m attempting with 150+ Creative Acts

So why 150+ Creative Acts?
Well, celebrating 150 years of Canada is a socially-charged event, particularly given our history with our First Nations communities. I think we as a nation have a lot to celebrate but we also have a lot to account for. I wanted to address the future of Canada. How are we going to move forward as a nation with issues including climate change, including economic and labour force change? There seems to be growing intolerance and racism. We need to come together, to work on reconciliation and cooperation.  One thing that can help us find solutions is developing our creativity. It is an attitude as much as an activity. It’s about celebrating uniqueness in our thinking and expression. I have no illusions that this project will bring about world peace, or anything. But I know for myself how expressing my creativity has changed my own life and I hope others can experience that as well.

Thank you, Maggie. If you would like to check out the project web site, click the link below.

150+ Creative Acts Website