Ralph Erickson, Renae Lehmann, and Bonnie Hayward, share one window at Imagine That! in Duncan this month with their distinctive styles of folk art. (Submitted)

Ralph Erickson, Renae Lehmann, and Bonnie Hayward, share one window at Imagine That! in Duncan this month with their distinctive styles of folk art. (Submitted)

Arts and Entertainment column: Lots to see in Duncan in March

Funding success, painters show, folk art, tell your COVID story

There was good news this week for the Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery Society. It has been awarded $24,000 in grants from the BC Arts Council to support exhibitions and infrastructure.

“This money is so helpful to our fledgling organization,” says president Jock Hildebrand. “Our objective is to bring exhibitions of national and international art to the Valley. Our path is well laid out and this certainly helps us along the way.”

The grants will support the upcoming Marianne Nicholson exhibition in October, staffing needs, and more, the Society said in a press release.

“Marianne Nicolson is a multi-media artist activist of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations. Her art is multi-disciplinary, encompassing photography, painting, carving, video, installation, monumental public art, writing and speaking. She is trained in both traditional Kwakwaka’wakw forms and culture and contemporary gallery and museum-based practice,” the release describes.

The CVPAG is a non-profit organization and registered charity devoted to creating a world-class public art gallery in the Cowichan Valley to host ongoing international, national and local art exhibitions and associated programming currently not available.


One of the oldest sketch groups in the Cowichan Valley is holding its popular annual show at the Cowichan Valley Arts Council’s gallery in 2021, running March 9 to April 7, CVAC announced in a press release. There’s also something new this year. This month-long show is the first time the group members will hold an exhibit for a period longer than a weekend, and it will feature more than 100 artworks.

“We know the community will be pleased to have an extended opportunity to see the range of art that our members produce,” said Maple Bay Painters President Sue Fenwick. “And we are excited about mounting a show in an art gallery setting.”

Many of the group’s members are well-known artists from the Cowichan Valley, and often take a mentoring role within the club to share their knowledge. Maple Bay Painters also invites noted artists from Vancouver Island to share their expertise by hosting workshops on portraiture, abstract design, drawing and other genres.

Each year, the MBP members donate art work for sale to raise funds for the bursary project which offers financial support to graduating art students.

The group is one of the oldest in the local arts community, established in 1968 by six painters under the guidance of Julie Porter who decided to meet weekly to paint together. They originally met in the church hall at Maple Bay, followed by the Maple Bay Rowing Club, and later the Moose Hall. Since 2012 the Cowichan Exhibition Grounds has been its home. Plein air sessions are organized during the summer months. What started small has grown into a vibrant group of artists. “To encourage, support and educate artists, with fairness and integrity” remains the keystone mission of the group.

The Portals gallery at the Cowichan Community Centre is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from noon until 4 p.m.


Imagine That! on Craig Street in Downtown Duncan has brought in something new to showcase in their window displays for March.

Three artists, Ralph Erickson, Renae Lehmann, and Bonnie Hayward, share one window with their distinctive styles of folk art.

“Personal, eccentric, highly original, both utilitarian and decorative. All of these describe what is popularly known as folk art. The work often comes from old cultural traditions. But today’s artists have created a newer contemporary folk art genre, and Imagine That! hosts three artists that reflect that new style,” says a press release.

In the other window Martha Jane McHardy displays her knitwear.

“In the beginning, Martha was a contract shepherd, breeding and training her own border collies. She competed in sheepdog trials throughout North America for more than two decades. She also taught and trained many handlers and their dogs in the art of managing sheep,” says the release.

“After retiring from training and trials, she finally found the time to take up knitting. Now residing in the Cowichan Valley, she had discovered the fascinating world of fibre arts and creates a wide variety of knitted accessories.”


Want to share your story of living through COVID?

The Mercury Players Society is asking for contributions of writing on the effects of COVID-19 and the pandemic, with a view to putting together an “interactive, online community theatre production in May of this year.”

People are asked to share their personal experiences in 700 words or less, before March 15.

For more information contact John Mowat Steven at covid.my.story@gmail.com

Arts and EntertainmentColumn

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

Just Posted

A police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders responded to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

Town of Lake Cowichan looking to form tourism and housing committees

Decision not related to the Lake Cowichan Visitor Information Centre closure

“Representing the school district, legion, and Kaatza Station Museum left to right are Georgie Clark of the museum, Wilma Rowbottom of School District #66 and Ernie Spencer, representing the Legion. The museum and Legion, along with the Village will each take a piece of the old wood shop.” (The Lake News)
Lake Flashback: Soapboxes, woodshop split, taxes down

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan?

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Rules around bicycle lanes

The lane is often painted green to distinguish it from lanes intended for motor vehicles.

Robert’s column
Robert Barron column: New hospital shouldn’t charge for parking

Paying a parking meter is the last thing people visiting a hospital should have to worry about.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Most Read