Art galleries and art lessons – something for everyone
Heading into the last month of winter, the promise of spring is there. But it’s still chilly outside and dark before supper. Searching for something to brighten the waning winter days and inject a little colour into your life? Why not look to the local art scene for some inspiration.
One of the best things about living in the Comox Valley is our thriving arts community. Hundreds of established and experienced artists call the Valley home, and the rest of us are the better for it.
And that also means opportunities to see – and make – art abound.
Following is a listing of some of the area’s local galleries, as well as a couple of studios spaces where you can take part in making art of your own.
Where the art hangs in the Comox Valley
Located in Downtown Courtenay at the corner of 6th and Duncan, the institution has been around since the early 1970s and relocated to its current location in 2005. The former Courtenay Fire Hall offered a central location and setting that lends itself to its current unique design – ideal for displaying visual art of all kinds. Not only does it have numerous exhibitions every year, as well as a gift shop featuring local artisans, but it also acts as the central hub for creative endeavours throughout the Valley. The mission of the gallery is to present and foster contemporary art by professional artists from the region, the country and beyond. Their exhibitions, events, performances, publications, creative residencies and education programs engage the public and enliven the community.
This downtown Comox gallery has been on the scene since the 1980s. Established as a location to highlight local Valley talent, for many student groups and budding artists, this is their first experience having their work on public view. Accomplished local artists also use it to hold one-man shows in their home community. There’s always something worth looking at here!
Near downtown Courtenay on Cumberland Road, Artful: The Gallery offers talented emerging and mid-career BC artists a space to exhibit and sell their works. It’s actually the working studio of multimedia artist Kristina Campbell. Visitors are always welcome to visits and learn about contemporary art on the West Coast. A beautiful place to spend an hour whether you’re a collector looking to buy or an artist looking for inspiration.
Located in East Courtenay on Back Road, this beautiful gallery displays a wide variety of authentic Northwest Coast art and jewellery. You’ll be impressed by the gorgeous selection of Native masks, paddles, argillite carvings, sculptures, prints, silver and gold jewellery from artists of Haida, Kwakwaka'wakw or Kwakiutl, Coast Salish and West Coast descent. Whether you want a special gift, a one-of-a-kind masterpiece or just a nice afternoon out, you’ll find it here.
Once you hit all those spots, you can check out the I-Hos Gallery on Comox Avenue and the Comox Valley Airport for more opportunities to take in local and Island artistic works.
Making art in the Comox Valley
Of course, looking at art is awesome, but making art is even better. And the Valley provides several options for those willing to try their hand at something creative.
Located in Courtenay’s downtown core, this studio offers beginners, novices and advanced learners a supportive space to create. Offering a broad range of classes for all levels, the studio’s instructors teach skills and techniques using a wide variety of mediums. Be brave – join them for some fun!
Looking for a new medium? Jan works with stained glass and has had students come from around the world. From making mosaics to learning how to improve your soldering technique to an 8-week project, you will learn everything you need to know and more. Plus, the location on Comox Ave is spectacular!
And make sure to check out all the art courses offered through Courtenay recreation. New classes start with every season. Plus, the Comox Valley Art Gallery holds workshops and occasional community “make-art projects,” so visit their website to subscribe to their newsletter and stay informed.