L-R: Artists Susan Andrews Grace, Boukje Elzinga, Rachel Yoder, Amy Bohigian, and Ian Johnston, who are among the artists whose work will be exhibited Nov. 17 to Feb. 11, at Touchstones. Photo: Jake Sherman

L-R: Artists Susan Andrews Grace, Boukje Elzinga, Rachel Yoder, Amy Bohigian, and Ian Johnston, who are among the artists whose work will be exhibited Nov. 17 to Feb. 11, at Touchstones. Photo: Jake Sherman

New exhibit at Touchstones celebrates the evolution of local artists

Upstream Benefits explores the past decade of art and culture in Nelson

By Jake Sherman

A new collaborative exhibit three years in the making opens at Touchstones on Friday.

Upstream Benefits — which was co-curated by Touchstones and the Oxygen Art Centre — seeks to understand why so many artists have fostered careers here, and looks at how the Kootenays have influenced the careers of the artists who live and work in the greater Nelson area.

The idea, according to co-curators Arin Fay and Miriam Needoba, is to provide a survey of some of the work that local artists have done over the last decade, and celebrate the benefits of creating art and community in rural locales.

“The artists have very little in common,” said Fay, a visual artist and Touchstones curator. “We really wanted the works to be ones they could tie to their time here — trying to frame how the Kootenays have influenced their artwork and careers.”

The interdisciplinary exhibit features the work of Courtney Andersen, Susan Andrews Grace, Amy Bohigian, Brent Bukowski, Boukje Elzinga, Ian Johnston, Maggie Shirley, Natasha Smith, Deborah Thompson, and Rachel Yoder, who come from diverse backgrounds, and will be showing two pieces each: one from when they first arrived in the Kootenays, and a more recent piece.

The contrast, the curators hope, will show how the experience of rural life in the Kootenays has influenced their work.

As much as the exhibit is about the effect that rural life has had on the creative process, it is also a celebration of the community of artists that have been involved with the Oxygen Art Centre over the last 10 years. Each of the artists featured in the new exhibit, which runs until February 11, have been members of the Oxygen Art Centre board of directors.

“It started out as Oxygen anniversary show,” said Needoba, filmmaker and executive director of the Oxygen Art Centre. “It was many years and iterations in the making … and is the culmination of years of collaborative efforts, writing grants and coming up with ideas.”

For artist Rachel Yoder, who never studied art at the university level, Oxygen provided an outlet for exploring the world of being an artist. The exhibit therefore also looks at how the Oxygen Art Centre has impacted the art practices of the artists who will be exhibited.

“The exhibit looks at how the artist engages with the social, which we are all extremely impacted by,” said artist Boujke Elzinga. “We all influence each other, and the artist has an impact on the community as well.”

Co-curators Fay and Needoba want to make clear that these artists are by no means representative of all the work being done here, but have all made important contributions to development of the artistic community that has made Nelson the arts and culture capital of interior British Columbia.

In addition to the exhibit, Touchstones and the Oxygen Art Centre will be hosting a symposium, slated to run from November 23 to 26.

The symposium offers workshops that will focus on learning from other rural communities who have fostered creative communities, host a number of rural artists and speakers who will participate in panel discussions, and look at how the arts can be an economic driver in rural communities.

Highlights include a talk from Julie Fowler, the director of ArtsWells, (an arts and culture festival that draws 2,500 annually to the tiny town of Wells, B.C.) and a panel discussion that will feature Nancy Holmes, a professor in the faculty of creative and critical studies at UBC Okanagan, and local poet Fred Wah.

Upstream Benefits opens with a reception on Friday at 7 p.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Co-curators Arin Fay and Miriam Needoba oversee the installation of the artwork to be presented in Upstream Benefits. Photo: Jake Sherman

Co-curators Arin Fay and Miriam Needoba oversee the installation of the artwork to be presented in Upstream Benefits. Photo: Jake Sherman

Just Posted

The Youth Climate Corps is seen here planting garlic at a permaculture farm while learning about food security. Photo: Submitted
COLUMN: Canada’s first Youth Climate Corps gets to work

Fourteen young adults are working to advance local climate change mitigation

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Dr. Cori Lausen, bat specialist, has questions about logging in an unusual bat habitat near Beasley. Photo: Submitted
Kaslo biologist questions logging at unique West Kootenay bat site

Dr. Cori Lausen, a bat specialist, studies a population of bats above Beasley

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read