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Lake Cowichan Kaatza Art Group celebrate 54 years

The group’s annual spring art show will be held at Lake Cowichan’s Centennial Hall from May 17 to 19

It has been said that the world is but a canvas to our imagination, and members of the non-profit Kaatza Art Group have been using their imaginations for more than five decades as they celebrate and present their 54th Annual Spring Art Show at Lake Cowichan Centennial Hall on May 17 from 1 to 7 p.m. and May 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Celebrating 54 years of the Lake Cowichan Kaatza Art Group and the Kaatza Spring Art Show is truly amazing,” said longtime member Karola Schabernak. “We stand on the shoulders of the many artists who came before us who believed in the full spectrum, or purpose of art, which is ceremonial, narrative, artistic expression, functionality, and persuasion. Our mission statement is to foster a spirit of excellence and a growth mindset.”

Schabernak has been a member of the Kaatza Art Group for 25 years and says she has had both the pleasure and privilege of working with several of the original founding members, all of whom have since died. The group currently has 15 members and they are actively looking to recruit more to bring their ideas and talent to the group’s annual exhibits. The theme for last year’s show was ‘Witnessing the Water’ on behalf of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society — this year the group looks to incorporate art from the students of Lake Cowichan School.

“Some of my favourite memories of being a member are both the camaraderie and yes, the contentiousness,” said Schabernak. “With camaraderie, we pull together and create art, as well as a yearly show, not only for ourselves, but for the greater community. Contentiousness brews the various viewpoints that strengthen the purposes of creating and showing art, and allowing it to evolve.”

The Kaatza Spring Art Show will not only have an array of paintings but will also include other disciplines such as pottery, woodworking, mixed media, jewelry, as well Pysanky, and photography. Art aficionados will be able to vote for their favourite artist with the People’s Choice award which commemorates longtime past member Eva Wilson. Through a paper vote the public jot down their faves, votes are tallied and the winner is announced before the closing of the show at 3:30 p.m. on the Sunday afternoon.

“We find the public feels fairly serious about choosing their favourite art, especially since they often admire more than one. Because this is not a juried show, the award validates the winner’s hard work and personal artistic aesthetic, while at the same time does not nullify anyone else’s contribution,” said Schabernak. “Our hope is that the attendees will enjoy the show and come away with a feeling of well-being. From a scientific point of view, it is well known that creating art improves health, memory, decision-making, critical thinking, and viewing art has the same benefits, including stress reduction, increased focus and problem-solving abilities. So, it would seem that art is actually very good for you. It has been around for a very long time and is part of the human equation.”