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Chemainus Art Group gains more prominence in theatre gallery display

Special opportunity for wider exposure for artists
Impressive work such as this piece by Jennifer O’Brian can be viewed in the Chemainus Theatre’s Gallery and Gift Shop. (Photo by Don Bodger)

A partnership with the Chemainus Theatre Festival through its Gallery and Gift Shop is bringing the work of Chemainus Art Group members to the forefront.

Lorna Rivard, the Gallery and Gift Shop manager, came up with the idea, drawing from her sister Jayne Noftall’s experiences as an artist.

“She’s the one who inspired me to do this,” said Rivard.

There’s safety in numbers, in a sense, for some of the members with more artists coming together in one show in one place.

“My sister’s not the only one in the group that have those fears of showing,” Rivard pointed out. “We’ve put up everybody’s bios, too, and it’s getting lots of positive feedback.”

The vibe surrounding the exhibit and sale has been entirely positive.

“Our goal is to reach out to the local community of artists by giving them a place to exhibit their artwork and support up-and-coming artists on their journey,” noted Michelle Vogelgesang, the Chemainus Theatre Festival’s marketing director.

Besides Noftall, the other artists currently exhibiting include: Johanna Vander Vlugt, Astrid Notte, Jennifer O’Brian, Mary Ann Gerwing, Heather Kent, Katheryn Huse and Joanie Winnitoy.

“It’s a great opportunity for these artists and the community,” added Rivard.

“Most of the artists have greeting cards of their work done, too.”

Art from local scenes is another popular element with patrons.

The plan is to rotate the artists and have a different exhibit in place during each main stage show and slightly beyond until the next one. The first change of artists on display will be after the Easter weekend.

“I’m leaving it to the art group,” noted Rivard. “I didn’t want to give any guidance. I’m leaving it to them to bring in what they want and make it work.”

Suffice it to say there is a lot of variety within the first eight and promises to be more of the same with artists of such diverse talents. Cim MacDonald will be the featured artist while Gaslight is on stage from April 28-May 28.

“We see it as a win-win for the Gallery and the community,” Vogelgesang remarked. “Introducing a variety of mediums and styles in one show allows patrons to explore their styles and purchase an original art piece at a reasonable cost.

“We’re so hopeful we can carry this on to the end of the year and into next year.”

The Chemainus Art Group started in 1969 with 12 artists and currently has 65 members.

The group’s focus is on the shared passion of making art while supporting and encouraging each other in their artistic practice and development. The group meets at the Saltair Community Centre on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from September through June.

Various guest artists, demos, workshops, discussions about work and creative practices, and club business are conducted throughout the year.


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Chemainus Theatre Festival’s Gallery and Gift Shop manager Lorna Rivard is pleased to have work by the Chemainus Art Group on display in the gallery. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lorna Rivard, the Chemainus Theatre Festival’s Gallery and Gift Shop manager, surrounded by some of the Chemainus Art Group’s work currently on display and for sale. (Photo by Don Bodger)
A sample of Jayne Noftall’s incredible work. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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