Pillar of the Campbell River Arts Community Heather Hughson is returning to England

For many moving to the Campbell River area, Heather Hughson was their gateway into the local arts scene. 

“Not only does she have encyclopedic knowledge of the area’s artists, programs, makers, movers, and shakers, but her enthusiasm for the arts is contagious,” said Sara Lopez Assu, executive director of the Campbell River Art Gallery. “She fiercely believes in uplifting artists, supporting their practice, and giving back to the community.”

As the Campbell River Art Gallery and the Campbell River Arts Council launch the 41st Annual Members’ Show, at their opening reception on April 14th,  they also say farewell and thank you to longtime volunteer, staff member and artist Heather Hughson.

Part celebration for her birthday, part farewell party, and part opening reception of the 41st Annual Members’ Show, the event will be held on April 14, from 5-7 p.m. at the Campbell River Art Gallery. 

Hughson arrived in Campbell River in 1986. She first exhibited her art in the 1992 Regional Juried Art Show at the Tidemark Theatre. Her piece Poppies won an award, and ever since then she has entered the Annual Members’ Show, winning awards for Another View of Myra Falls in 2010, and Reflections of Home in 2012.

This year marks Hughson’s final entry in the Members’ Show before her return to England. For it, she finished her series 36 views of Doogie Dowler, honouring the iconic mountain seen from everywhere in Campbell River. 

This series was inspired by Hokusai’s 36 views of Mount Fuji, from which the famous print The Great Wave off Kanagawa originated. 

After working on this project for the last five years, Heather’s 36th and final painting of Mount Doogie Dowler will grace the 41st Annual Members’ Show, on display at the Art Gallery from April 8 – May 27th. 

“Entering the Members’ Show every year has been instrumental in elevating my art,” she said. “I like putting something in that is more experimental, and seeing how people react to it.”

Hughson has also been in three exhibitions at the Tidemark Gallery, a solo exhibition at the Pearl Ellis Gallery, and has been in several group shows including the Sooke Fine Arts Show. 

She has been volunteering with the Arts Council since 2004, and started working there in 2006. She retired two years ago and was invited to become a Board Member.

Hughson was also a founding member of Patrons of the Arts (POTA), a fundraising branch of the Campbell River Arts Council. 

In 2012 she started volunteering at the CRAG and has been working there part-time since 2017. 

“We have relied on her so much, and her contributions to our cultural landscape will be felt forever,” Lopez Assu said. “We are so grateful for everything she’s done for us and for our community, and wish her the very best on this exciting next chapter.”

Hughson says the highlight of her time in Campbell River has been the people. 

“The artists. I will miss them the most. I love intake day (for the Members’ Show). Every year, new work comes in that just blows me away,” says Hughson. 

The 41st Annual Members’ Show, presented by the Campbell River Art Gallery and the Campbell River Arts Council is on at the gallery April 8-May 27. The opening reception and celebration of all things Heather is on April 14, 5 p.m.-7 p.m.

The Gallery is open Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

A small selection of Hughson’s work is available for purchase in the gallery shop.