Campbell River’s talented artists have been showing their work in the Annual Members’ Show longer than the gallery that now hosts it has existed.
Established in 1983, the first event was held at the North Island College art centre and featured 104 works by 43 local artists alongside work by North Island College students and weaving by the Midnight Shuttles Guild, according to a publication created by the council and gallery for the 30th anniversary of the show.
The following year, the exhibition was held in the basement of the newly built Campbell River Municipal Hall. In just one year, the show had already grown to 170 pieces by 55 artists.
The exhibition would continue to move around over the next few years, from a private gallery on Pier Street known as Heritage House, Impressions Gallery and Framing and eventually the lobby of the Tidemark Theatre.
Fundraising for a public art gallery began in 1987. Art auctions, art shows, workshops, provincial and federal grant money as well as donations from local businesses and individuals were used to do significant renovations on the Centennial Building, which was previously home to the museum.
The gallery opened in 1994 and became the permanent location for the recurring members’ show.
In 1995 the Arts Council and the Gallery became two separate entities. According to the records, this was done for funding reasons. However, the two continue to co-host the members’ show every year.
Over time the number of participants fluctuated–in 2015 there were 87 artists and this year there are around 50.
In 2020 the member’s show went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time all of the work was available to see online.
This year’s event features work by more than 50 artists, some returning and some newcomers from the Campbell River and North Island region. The work was created within the last three years and has never been part of an exhibition before.
“The Members’ Show is one of the highlights of our cultural year in Campbell River,” said Ken Blackburn, executive director of the Campbell River Arts Council. “The opportunity to witness the vast creativity and innovative spirit of our community is on full display in the Members’ Show. It proves that we have a rich and strong cultural sector. Our artists are amazing!”
Alongside the members’ show, the gallery and council are launching a series of Professional Development for Artists workshops this year. The seminars are an opportunity for artists to learn to promote themselves and their work, present their work in the best way, document their work using their smartphone, and write about their work for various audiences. The workshops will be facilitated by artist consulting and education company Dazed & Confucius. You can read more about the event here or sign up here.
“Part of the Gallery’s mandate is to provide educational opportunities for our community,” said Sara Lopez Assu, executive director for the Campbell River Art Gallery. “Launching this new Professional Development series at the same time as the 40th anniversary of our Members’ Show made so much sense – we want to not only celebrate and exhibit our artists, but we also want to provide them with tools and resources to expand their practice into the professional art world.”
Artists who have work in this year’s exhibition are:
•D. Ross Fisher
•Christina Jones, Louie Bowles and Ian Bowles
•Dianne E. Nelson
See the show at the Campbell River Art Gallery until February 26th. The gallery is open Thursday and Friday from 10 am-5 pm and Saturday from 10 am-4 pm.
To participate in next year’s show sign up to be a member! Members receive 10% off Gallery Shop merchandise, select programs and rental space, and benefits at participating galleries and museums throughout BC. They have voting privileges at our Annual General Meeting as well as the opportunity to apply to sell their products at the gift shop, if approved by the admissions panel.
You can also become a member of the Campbell River Arts Council here.