North Island Hospital Art Project


  • Exhibition October 13 2017 - December 29 2018

The CVAG creative team has taken on the project of conceptualizing, designing and producing artwork for the new North Island Hospital in the Comox Valley. CVAG’s Community Space features a design project for art at the new North Island Hospital in Courtenay. CVAG worked closely with the North Island Hospital Art Project, K’ómoks First Nation, Elder Barb Whyte, other local artists, & students, parents, and educators from Queneesh Elementary School.

Work is installed at the new hospital, and the project remains in process.

Gathering Place Wall / main floor

The artwork created for the Welcome Wall honours the traditional territory, medicine plants and cultural healing practices of the K’omoks First Nation people, both Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw. The work invites contemplation and rooting to the land in which we live and recieve health care.

I give thanks to the Creator, Creator of our planets and our stars. I honor Mother Earth for all that she gives us, the oceans, rivers, mountains, and plains. I give thanks to the trees and the plants for supporting the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of our elders, mothers and fathers, and our children that walk upon her with respect for ourselves and respect for Mother Earth and all of my relations.

– Barb Whyte


Central Registration / main floor

Three large panels offer a reflection of the local landscape and cultural history that is embedded within it. The imagery offers a welcoming invitation through scenes that embrace the forest and sea comprising the Comox Valley.
The series of photographs communicates a sense of comfort and safety for individuals visiting the hospital.

With arms outstretched and our songs clinging to the wind, the K’ómoks First Nation welcomes visitors into our unceded traditional territory. Since time immemorial, the ancestors of the K’ómoks people have been the caretakers of this land — living off the wealth and abundance that this region has to offer. From the cool rivers teeming with salmon to the mountains and forests that surround us, the environment has always looked after our people. We welcome you to share in the abundance that this region has to offer…with the expectation that you give back as much as you take.

– Andy Everson (K’ómoks/Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations)


Outpatient Lab Waiting Area / main floor

Gordon Hutchens

Transformation: Aquamarine / Alabaster Work
(details) crystalline glazed porcelain vessels, 2017–18

Emulating the crystal growth of minerals slow cooling deep within the earth, Gordon has spent many years developing a personal pallet of ceramic glazes that can grow spontaneous macro crystals if cooled very slowly. First discovered in Europe in the late 1800s, this style of glaze is fired in the kiln to 1300 degrees Celsius and during the cooling cycle is held at around 1120 degrees for up to five hours. Like all glass, this glaze is based on powdered quartz, with the addition of a high percentage of zinc oxide. With slow cooling, at a critical temperature, natural zinc ortho-silicate crystals can grow within it. Inspired by alabaster, the crystalline form of calcium, this glaze gets its white mother of pearl effect from the addition of titanium. The aquamarine coloured glaze is achieved by blending titanium, copper and cobalt metals.

Gordon Hutchens first became intrigued with pottery at the age of fourteen during a visit to Japan. He received an Honours Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Illinois majoring in Ceramics (Clay and Glass Blowing). For nearly 30 years Gordon has operated his extensive studio on Denman Island, BC. His work has been shown in over twenty-five solo shows and seventy group exhibitions in North America. Gordon’s work has been featured in three major exhibitions in Japan. His work is housed in permanent collections worldwide, including the Charles Bronfman Claridge Collection and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Gordon has shared his knowledge of ceramics through mentorships and teaching positions at many colleges and Potters’ Guilds. He is currently on faculty in the Fine Art and Design Ceramics Department, at North Island College. He has been widely published and is the author/host of four videos including Beginning Raku, Variations on Raku, and a two-part video series Salt-Soda Firing.

Wellness Center – Cancer Care / main floor

Alun Macanulty + Krista McAllister + Angela Somerset + Denise Lawson

Forest Reprieve
digital photography by Alun / concept by Angela / words by Denise / digital weaves by Krista, 2017 –18

Trees are an integral presence in our communities. Inspired by the importance of the natural world in our lives, the artists created a transitional image matrix that laces together a relational conversation between the surrounding forests and the interior hospital space.

  there is a sweetness in recalling a place of gentle holding
  the whisper of rustling leaves soft bird songs
  the fragrance of the earth
  of standing in the forest cool air looking up
  at the blue gem of sky
  between the dancing green

  A canopy of leaves, bathed in sunlight, weaves around the windows
    calling the eye to look up and out to blue skies
      calling the heart into the wonder of trees
        calling the body into the healing caress of the forest

Psychiatric Inpatient Unit

Nicole Crouch + Ed Odgaard + Krista McAllister

Dreaming Together
drawings on paper by Nicole / digital photography by Ed / additional photos and digital weaves by Krista, 2017–18

Artists are dreamers are birds dream-speaking together.

Birds can do anything. They are dream walker speakers.

Inspired by birds and light refraction, this translucent mural mediates the spaces and
experiences between inside and outside, calling in and calling out the imagination
in the space between. The prism, like the bird, is a carrier of imagination, holding
the space of possibilities.

The collaborative practice between Ed, Nicole and Krista was a knowledge exchange
and exploration of the universal beauty of a place and the natural workings
that comprise this place. In changing relationship configurations, in trust,
there is sweetness between individuals, the colour canopy and the birds.

The prism effect of sunlight through crystals in a matrix of images is wrapped around
the atrium windows to offer a sense of comfort and delight to those using the space.

Language comes last.

Maternity + Children’s Unit:

Queneesh Elementary School Students (Kindergarten through Grade 7)

digital prints/watercolour + mixed media original, 2017–18

Inspired by their relationships to place – where they live and learn – the children of Queneesh Elementary School came together in a series of art-making sessions facilitated by Denise Lawson and Angela Somerset (Comox Valley Art Gallery Curatorial Staff). The children were invited to respond to the theme of transformation and change. This resulted in the creation of one hundred and eighty artworks for the new hospital which borders their schoolyard. Circles of sharing allowed the children an opportunity to offer their personal experiences related to hospitalization. Working from a place of deep empathy the children explored the transformative potential of unexpected change using wet-on-wet watercolour painting techniques combined with drawing and collage to create lush, expressive images. Krista McAllister, with the assistance of Lukas Roy (CVAG Design / Production Staff), wove the beautiful visual narrative together that comprises the final installation, offering hope and encouragement to all those in the hospital environment.


Artists / Participants: K’ómoks First Nation, Elder Barb Whyte, K’umugwe Cultural Society, Calvin Hunt, Karver Everson, Randy Frank, Alun Macanulty, Gordon Hutchens, the students, staff, and families of Queneesh Elementary school, Trish McPhail, Ed Odgaard, Nicole Crouch, Krista McAllister

Design / Production: Glen Sanford, Sharon Karsten, Alun Macanulty, Angela Somerset, Denise Lawson, Krista McAllister, Lukas Roy, Ernst Vegt of Coast Imaging Arts, and ABC Printing & Signs.