Chemainus Art Group’s 50th anniversary is Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5th! This is Thelma Godkin’s dogwood painting. She’s among the founding members. (Photo submitted)

Chemainus Art Group celebrates a half century of existence

Saltair Community Centre the site of Friday reception, weekend art show

The Chemainus Art Group is turning the big Five-Oh.

The group’s 50th Anniversary art show and celebration takes place Friday through Sunday at the Saltair Community Centre gymnasium.

“The Big Five-Oh! Now that’s a milestone,” noted Mary Ann Gerwing, the art show committee chair. “And we are celebrating the people and the communities that have helped us flourish. It’s exciting to be part of such a vibrant art community here in this region on Vancouver Island.”

This year’s show features an ‘Art is…’ installation, which explores the value of art, beyond being able to hang a wonderful piece of art on the wall.

As an example, art has played a significant role in the history of Chemainus, now known as a destination spot for its murals which contributed to the town’s recovery following the closing of the previous sawmill.

“Our mission is to encourage individuals on their artistic journeys by creating space for fun, friendship, sharing and learning, and by providing opportunities for members to showcase their accomplishments, added Joyce Martell, the Chemainus Art Group’s president. “I think that is the secret to our success and to our longevity as a group.”

In April 1969, 12 area artists met at the home of Edith Harris on Crozier Road to begin the Chemainus Sketch Group. Their dedication to art education and studio time painting together soon attracted other artists and meetings were moved to the Fuller Lake Arena.

In 2016, the group moved to the Saltair Community Centre to accommodate growing numbers and expanding activities, and to have a permanent art space to call home. The group name was changed shortly thereafter.

Studio 16 is a beehive of activity and creativity. In addition to a half-dozen workshops a year, there are monthly guest artist demonstrations, life drawing sessions, mentoring by members, and plenty of open studio time to gather, paint, exchange ideas and share a few hours of joy.

Painting en plein air is always a favourite and takes place at a different outdoor location each week during the summer.

The 60-plus members represent artists in every medium and at every experience level, and there’s always someone who’s happy to help. Everyone learns and benefits from the inspiration, critique and fellowship that comes from those who share the same passion.

New members are always welcome.

All art lovers are invited to join the celebration of 50 years of art. The opening reception begins Friday at 7 p.m. and the gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Visit www.chemainusartgroup.ca for details and a preview of a selection of art. Admission is free.

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