Nelson's Oxygen Art Centre prepares for the Art Market.

Nelson’s Oxygen Art Market

Almost 40 Kootenay artists will take part in the Oxygen Art Market this year. Last year’s event was a huge success.

Almost 40 Kootenay artists will take part in the Oxygen Art Market this year. Last year’s event was a huge success, with an estimated 700 attendees.

The Art Market has quickly become an important fundraiser for the Oxygen Art Centre. The event was developed in response to a greater need for fundraising to keep the Oxygen’s doors open. Like many artist-run centres and community organizations across the province, Oxygen has been hit hard in recent years by cuts to BC gaming grants.

While many organizations have been forced to close, Oxygen has continued to survive in the face of adversity.

“We’ve got a skeleton staff now. We are here because of the work of our committed volunteers, the love and support of the community, and of our sponsors and funders,” says Miriam Needoba, coordinator of the Art Market.

Last year, approximately $9000 in art was sold on a 50/50 split between Oxygen Art Centre and local artists.

“Our art community benefited on every level,” says Needoba. “All sorts of people went home with original, locally-produced artwork for their homes or offices, or as gifts for their friends and family. Some of them got great deals!”

Last year the volunteer Art Market crew hung hundreds of paintings, prints and photographs submitted by established and emerging Kootenay artist who were invited to participate in the event. Many artists had previously been involved with Oxygen Art Centre throughout the years.

Oxygen’s mandate is to provide a centre for the community to engage in art, literary, film and performance activities through classes, exhibitions, events and performances.

This includes work with local, national and international artists, exhibition and teaching opportunities for professional artists, as well as training for emerging artists and members of the public interested in art.

Last year, approximately 153 students and 2,563 audience members took part in Oxygen exhibitions, events and classes. In 2011, volunteers contributed over 734 hours of their time to the centre.

The event is sponsored by Columbia Basin Trust.

The second annual Oxygen Art Market will take place on May 25, 26 and 27 at Oxygen Art Centre, 320 Vernon Street in Nelson (back alley entrance). Hours are: Friday 7 to 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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