Ladysmith carver John Marston (second from left) showcases some of his work to Premier John Horgan Monday. (Gerry Beltgens photo)

Premier makes surprise visit to Ladysmith Art Gallery

John Horgan does an informal meet and greet with Ladysmith arts and community leaders

Gerry Beltgens Special to the Chronicle

Premier John Horgan made a surprise visit to Ladysmith Monday.

The premier and his entourage, including Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley visited the Ladysmith Art Gallery and John Marston’s carving studio.

The premier arrived in a minivan for an informal and unscheduled visit and met informally with several people at the gallery.

After a tour, he was introduced to members of the Marston family. A conversation with Jane Marston followed that covered many topics including the removal of fish farms and protection of wild salmon. He next spoke to John Marston and John’s son Noah Marston, much of the conversation centred on art with the Premier particularly interested in Noah’s passion for music as well as his own graphic art.

On short notice, Kathy Holmes of the Ladysmith Art Council sent out a quick email that resulted in Mayor Aaron Stone, and councillors Marsh Stevens, Tricia McKay, Rob Johnson, Jeff Virtanen, and several members of the local arts community being able to attend.

After leaving the gallery the Premier visited John Marston’s studio. Horgan and his people were impressed with the many projects that John was working on including the Eagle Pole for the High School, large bent wood boxes, two canoes, a large carved alder bowl in the style of a canoe and an elk skin being prepared for transformation into drum heads.

The Premier showed interest in John’s work and his family connections with traditional and contemporary First Nations art.

After the tour of the studio the Premier posed for photos with town councillors and the Marston family before moving to his next destination.

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Ladysmith carver John Marston showcases some of his work to Premier John Horgan Monday. (Gerry Beltgens photo)

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