Gulf Islands artists Marsha Batchelor and Bev Paterson will be exhibiting painting and sculpture in the CVAC gallery at the Cowichan Community Centre May 28 to June 19, 2021. (Submitted)

Gulf Islands artists Marsha Batchelor and Bev Paterson will be exhibiting painting and sculpture in the CVAC gallery at the Cowichan Community Centre May 28 to June 19, 2021. (Submitted)

A&E column: Art, art, art — plus a Read-a-Thon

What’s going on in arts and culture in the Cowichan Valley

The Cowichan Valley Arts Council is bringing some Moments of Joy to the public from May 28 to June 19.

At their gallery in the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan, CVAC is hosting two Gulf Islands artists, Marsha Batchelor and Bev Paterson. Their show, titled Moments of Joy, will feature sculpture and painting and is described as “a satisfying exploration of both the human form and the world of the inner mind.”

Paterson is from Galiano Island, having learned sculpture technique in Italy, France, the U.K. and the U.S. as well as Canada. She creates figures in bronze and terra cotta.

“Observing and re-creating in clay the myriad shapes life makes of the human body highlights for me the common thread that runs through all people,” she said. “It is a reminder that we are all made from the same stuff, face the same challenges of life and death, and share the story of conception, birth, and a life created by us moment by moment.”

For more information about Paterson, check out

Marsha Batchelor is from Gabriola Island, and has had a wide-ranging career. Her bio says she explored the back country as a park ranger in B.C. and Alberta and worked on fire towers in northern B.C. before heading up to the Yukon wilderness with her husband Bruce and nine sled dogs, after which she helped write the couple’s book Nine Dog Winter.

She’s been a book designer for more than 35 years, but is now exploring the world of abstract art through acrylics and mixed media.

For more from Batchelor, check out


The Cowichan Valley Arts Council is also busy preparing six Art Fanatics summer camps for kids in the Cowichan Valley for July and August.

“Exploring a different theme each week with different mediums from wild plants to wood and metal, the groups will develop new skills and show how art expression can have an impact,” said a press release for the camps. “Kids will look at creating art from materials that are often forgotten.”

Kids will also play outside each and visit the waterpark each week. All camps are for kids ages six to 10, with the exception of the Performing Arts Camp, which is for kids ages eight to 12. All will be held at the CVAC studio at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan.

In July there is Puppets with a Punch, Fantastically Fabulous Fibres and Portals Performing Arts Camp. In August there is 3-D Extravaganza, Recycled Art, and Making a Splash. All camps are $175 each, with the exception of 3-D Extravaganza which is $140.

Camps run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. For more information, go to

To register, go to


A local artist and author has been given top honours with the Federation of Canadian Artists.

Phil Robinson from Duncan has been awarded Senior Signature Status with the federation, the most advanced level of membership within the organization.

Each spring a committee within the federation evaluates portfolios submitted by Canadian artists. To qualify, the artist must have been juried into at least seven federation-sanctioned exhibitions. After being looked at by the committee, Robinson was given the highest of the two Signature levels that can be awarded, the Senior status.

“Robinson’s interest in painting began at an early age but blossomed in retirement as he and his wife, Barb, roamed North America and finally settled in Duncan after several years in Victoria,” said a press release.

“I’ve come to realize that every work I create is a portrait. Each flower, animal, landscape, still life or person has a story. Some of those stories resonate within me and demand to be captured on canvas to be shared and enjoyed by others,” said Robinson of his inspiration. “The better that story is told, the more I appreciate the finished piece. Sometimes stories need to be written, not painted. I published one such story as a mystery novel entitled Paperless in which two very different people struggle in their pursuit of justice for those who could not speak for themselves.”

Paperless is available on Amazon or from the author.

Robinson works from his Bard and Brush Fine Art Studio in Duncan. His paintings can be seen locally at Excellent Frameworks – E.J. Hughes Gallery ( or online at where originals, prints and cards are available. Facebook: bardandbrush. Instagram: probinsonauthor.

The Federation of Canadian Artists was founded in 1941 following a conference of artists including the Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson and Arthur Lismer. It has more than 2,800 current members.


Get ready to read this summer with Literacy Now Cowichan.

The group is hosting a summer-long Read-a-Thon as a fundraiser for their work.

“We wanted an event that could be safely distanced, felt connected to the core of our work in literacy, and brought a fun spirit of community competition,” said Literacy Now Cowichan Executive Director Jessica Lewinski.

The Read-a-Thon will work like a Walk-a-Thon, a press release says. Readers will gather small pledges for each book, finishing as many books as they can from June 1 to Aug. 31.

“All ages and reading levels are welcome, and audio books are okay, too!” notes Lewinski, adding that participants will be grouped by age brackets, and top readers in each category will win monthly prizes as the competition progresses.

Literacy Now Cowichan provides free one on one adult literacy tutoring in reading, writing, math, basic budgeting, digital literacy, pre-employment skills and more, all with volunteer tutors. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to the group, and the Read-a-Thon will help them to continue with services going forward.

Too learn more or sign up, email, or visit

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