On Friday, Nov. 14, for the 40th year in row we’ll be opening our doors for the annual Christmas Craft Fair.
What was once a groundbreaking new project has become a mainstay of our community, supporting local artists and providing people in the Comox Valley with a venue for high-quality, locally-made products. This year, more than 80 artists will have work in the fair.
On the following Friday, Nov. 21, we’ll be hosting a turning 40 birthday party from 4 to 7 pm. Please join us for snacks, beverages and of course birthday cake. There will be some remarks and a toast at 5 pm.
The party will also serve as a reception for two exhibitions. The Window Project, a light installation by Robert Moon with Carrie Tannant, will run for the duration of the craft fair in the CVAG window gallery. (See the image at the top). Layered Democracy, an exhibition by the Print4 Group, will run in the George Sawchuk Gallery from Nov. 7 to Nov. 27.
In addition to our birthday party on Nov. 21, we’ve got other ways for you to help us celebrate. On Nov. 14 and 21, customers will get a 10 per cent discount on most items in the fair. Members will get a 15 per cent discount.
Also, warm beverages and cookies will be served up on Nov. 14 and every Saturday over the course of the fair. We will also be offering some additional hours to our regular 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday.
Jed Irwin, the first coordinator of the Central Island Arts Alliance, has encouraging words for the people involved in today’s Comox Valley Art Gallery as the organization prepares to celebrate its 40-year birthday Friday afternoon, Nov. 21.
“Hope, faith, determination, flexibility and generosity, those, along with creative vision, are the human strengths that have served and will continue to serve this organization as it moves into the next 40,” Irwin said from his current home in Nova Scotia.
The original Arts Alliance emerged from a backyard meeting that took place at Irwin’s Cumberland home in 1974. Ideas quickly turned into reality, and the Arts Alliance was soon housed in a building on Mcphee Avenue in Courtenay.
Over the years the organization changed locations a few times, and its name. In 2005 the Comox Valley Art Gallery moved into its current home at the vastly renovated old fire hall at 580 Duncan Ave.
Friday afternoon CVAG will throw a turning-40 birthday party from 4 to 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. There will be snacks, beverages, a birthday cake, and special discounts at the 40th Annual Christmas Craft Fair.
“The arts alliance gave artists a chance to connect to each other, and to reach out to the community,” Irwin said. “It put a public face on a growing art community.”
He noted the organization has always relied on a healthy roster of volunteers.
“When you are on a shoestring organization you need a lot of happy, energetic volunteers,” Irwin said. “Volunteers add diversity as well as enthusiasm.”
Irwin, who continues to paint actively, said the Arts Alliance has had a large impact on the community and on many individuals.
“People keep passing the torch; over a span of forty years that’s a beautiful thing to witness,” he said. “I am sure that the Arts Alliance in its various incarnations has touched and enriched (and perhaps even saved) many lives.”
He referred to the enthusiasm of one of the early activists at the gallery, Ralph (Pop) Warner. “As Pop Warner used to say, ‘Onward’.”