Independent Studio Program

The Comox Valley Art Gallery is committed to supporting research, creation, presentation, collaboration, dissemination of contemporary art and cultural practise. The gallery provides space to engage in arts-based research, activations, creative exploration of materials and process, community relations, and concept development through:

CVAG Next Door Residency is an independent studio practice initiated in 2020 by the Comox Valley Art Gallery. Residencies are open to artists and curators engaged in contemporary interdisciplinary art practice. The gallery provides this opportunity as a way of supporting deep and sustained artistic practice during residency periods that are two – six weeks in length. Email your submission to:

CVAG Next Door Application Guidelines

Incubators at CVAG support artists, students and community with the opportunity to conduct research and to collaborate and engage with other artists/ students / wider community, as they develop their creative concepts and work in process.

Project Room Studio opportunities that occur throughout the CVAG spaces and offer artists dedicated time to do their work. Projects may be stand-alone or woven into the gallery’s thematic programming as preparatory inquiry and development for future exhibition work.  Occasionally, artists will open their space to community, informally or for specific events. Project Room Studio events are posted in the CVAG e-news, on CVAG’s web and social media sites.


November 10 – 27, 2022

MENDING + GRIEVING / An Artist Residency 

Lori Weidenhammer 

During the time in residence, Lori’s research and creation focused on an upcoming project that will culminate in events that memorialize the worst recorded loss of native bees. Forefront in the research was this question: “How can we support each other in mending and grieving?” More can be read about her residency at CVAG Next door on Lori’s blog Victory Garden for Bees.

October – November, 2022

C.R.A.F.T. PEOPLE / Collaborative Research + Development

Carley Butler / Emily Luce / Leah Grantham / Rodney Sayers

This rotating residency offered the artist collective personal time for their collaborative and individual practises. The artists worked on various projects – comedy, carving, a mural project, ongoing printing, textile work, and some technology explorations.

Underlying their inquiries the artists were considering: “what is formative and regenerative for us as makers, and therefore our organization? What are the threads that pull us together? [How do we] consider a theme as C.R.A.F.T. that each of us addresses in our individual way.”

August – September – December, 2022

PULSE + FOR THE FUTURE / Research + Development

“Branches”, Bran Mackie

Bran Mackie

Artist Bran Mackie has conducted research, site specific research and production during week long to three week residencies. During the first stay, Bran’s research + development was focused on a project, with the working title Pulse, using CVAG’s media equipment and software.  The next residencies focused on site-specific research and creation for the project, For the Future, which will be part of an upcoming CVAG exhibition.

July 10 – 16, 2022:

Make Art Project 2 / GENERATE – ACTIVATE – MAKE

Meesh QX

As part of an ongoing creative research and development project that Meesh QX is undertaking with support of the Canada Council for the Arts, they are in residence at CVAG Next Door from July 10 – 16. As part of this project, Meesh will be engaging with the community through MAP: Make / Art / Place, CVAG’s Summer 2022 Community Make Art Series.

December 19 – 21, 2021:

HEARING VOICES / Research – Performance – Sculpture

Artists: Connie Michele Morey / Soleia Izmer-Morey

While staying in town at CVAG Next Door, Connie Michele Morey and her daughter Soleia Izmer-Morey will be conducting research and performances for the ongoing project Hearing Voices. This series focuses on encounters with people and places, without pre-planned spectatorship. The encounters take place in neighbourhoods in villages, towns, and cities across Vancouver Island.

June 8 – 21, 2020:

ROCK PEOPLE / A Short VR Experience

Filmakers: Josephine Anderson & Claire Sanford

Time is huge, and it just keeps slipping into the future. An island rises from the ocean, and its inhabitants go about their life’s work – blasting, hauling, and shipping the rock on which they live. Framed as an immersive portrait of a tiny oceanic enclave called Texada Island, Rock People explores the elasticity of time, and the nature of how we spend ours.

– Collective Statement

Rock People is a short virtual reality experience that draws on documentary storytelling techniques to explore how time is spent in our resource extraction society.

During their independent residency, Josephine Anderson & Claire Sanford continue to develop an interactive virtual reality documentary using stereoscopic 360-degree video, ambisonic sound design, and animation. Artists are residing at CVAG next door and using the Project Room Studio as a working space.


June 1 – August 31, 2022:

STREAM Incubator – Summer 2022

Facilitator: Stew Savard

We are delighted to be continuing our STEAM incubator series — now called STREAM! STREAM stands for Science, Technology, Robotics, Electronics, Arts + Mathematics.

This summer’s incubator emphasizes relationship building and reciprocity. The students have two projects on the go at the moment! They are creating stop motion animations based on the theme “My Comox Valley”, and — alongside CVAG’s upcoming renovations and space improvements — they are building a Lego scale model of the building.

May 10 – September 10, 2022:

RETURN TO WATER / Fine Arts + Digital Design Student Incubator

Artists: Erica Livsey / Meg Firth / Naia Lisch / Kat Cearns / Anne Cumming / Kendra Dewar / Karen Day / Marlee Monroe / Laurena Fairbairn / Ram Sudama / David Page / Renee Poisson / Vienna May Sauvage / Cameron McKieve / Lisa Petruvia / Melinda Goetjen / Roberta Joehle / Safron Wells / Venessa O’Neill / Hoyoung (Patrick) Kim / Satya Bellerose / Celina Baulcomb / Gillian Gahagan / Talia Naidoo / Jules Benson / Binh (Leo) Le

The work presented here as part of CVAG’s convergent program Return to Water celebrates student projects from North Island College courses in 3D Art and Design, Sculpture, Video and Digital Photography. The themes served as an open-ended provocation to inspire relevant and convergent research and creation. The research, materials and processes represent new areas of exploration for most students, including metal shop fabrication, digital image series, time-based storytelling, and place-based interactive work.

May 10 – September 10, 2022:

RETURN TO WATER / Early Childhood Care + Education Student Incubator

Artists: Destiny Speck – Qualicum First Nations Childcare + Headstart / Sophie Smith – Three Tree Early Learning Centre / Kelsi Martens – Queneesh Elementary + Strong Start / Sophie LaPlante – Tigger Too Pre-School / Maddy King – Campbell River Community Pre-School / Barb Lanyon – Beaufort Children’s Centre + Orca Room / Zoe David – Beaufort Children’s Centre + Ladybug Room / Lyss Brush – Hand in Hand Nature Education + Comox Red Cedar / Tianna Belanger – Forest Circle Childcare / Cara Beckman – Courtenay Elementary + Strong Start

We are excited to collaborate with CVAG on this community incubator that brings together diverse learning groups and to explore issues ‘related to perceptions of water, use of water, effects of climate change, and the concept of water as a living entity.’

– Instructor Statement

January 19 – February 18, 2022:

BODY SPACE OBJECT / Student Experience + Presentation

Artists: Anne Cumming / Kimberly Holmes / Marlee Munro / Freddie Milne / Renée Poisson / Demara Wilding / Rosemary Bockner

North Island College Fine Arts students return to the gallery in 2022 for onsite experience at CVAG. Students will install, present, document and write about their work emerging out of their ‘body, space, object’ thematic research from the FIN 231 Sculpture and Integrated Art Practices course. Working in the Gallery’s spaces, GATHER:PLACE and the George Sawchuk Gallery, the students have the opportunity to experiment, innovate, and grow their creative practice.

January 5 – 15, 2022:

STEAM Incubator – January 2022

Facilitator: Stew Savard

The STEAM Incubator once again brings together the students who recently graduated from the Montessori program at Queneesh Elementary School are now participating in the ENTER program at Highland Secondary School.

July 14 – September 10, 2021:

STEAM Incubator

Facilitator: Stew Savard

A group of girls aged 11 – 14 years immersed themselves in a collaborative robotics learning environment. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Electronics, Arts + Mathematics

This initial series of STEAM incubators was, in part, inspired by the work of Deb Dumka and Claire Sanford. Their exhibition, Our Young Girls, was an interactive installation exploring gender + digital empowerment + access + technology + safe spaces + art. The STEAM Incubator was designed to offer hands-on learning for participants to become familiar with the components for building/programming robots and navigating the culture of historically male-dominated subject areas.

Spring 2020 – Spring 2021:

SPACE BETWEEN US Publication Incubator

Artists: Maleea Acker / Renée Poisson / Sophie Wood / H. Pearl Gray / Bran Mackie / Hannah Brown / Cassidy Gehmlich / Meesh QX / Kara Stanton / Spencer Sheehan Kalina

In the early spring of 2020, the Space Between Us publication project was instigated by CVAG’s curators as a way of supporting creative inquiry, production and collaboration across creative practices. Since that time artists and writers have been working together, through conceptual ideation + making, to develop and prepare digital-based productions. The incubator presents material / digital / sound installations, online presentations, and virtual events that point to the creative foundations and thematic content of the final works.

September 4, 2020 – February 27, 2021:

FIN 230 Sculpture + Integrated Art Practice Student Incubator

Artists: bobbi Denton / Brittany King / Foroozan Taleifard / Gabrielle Moore-Pratt / Kaili Hodacsek / Kimberly Holmes / Renée Poisson

Students have been navigating the conditions of new learning platforms during of the current Covid 19 pandemic. Through online courses, limited access to the onsite art studios and shops at the college, and carefully orchestrated offsite hands-on learning opportunities, the students produced individual projects and a collaborative group project – a Fluxux Emergency Kit.

December 13, 2019 – January 4, 2020:

Incubator 2

Artists: Mona Baker / Janina Brugamn / bobbi denton / Tina Filippino / James Kormansek /
Bran Mackie / Rennee Poisson / Spencer Sheehan-Kalina / Kelly Wilson / Gabe Moore / Brandon St-Laurent / Cassidy Gehmlich

North Island College Fine Art students studying Sculpture and Integrated Practices have collated their work in an incubator project with the support of the Comox Valley Art Gallery. This is a visual representation, of a diverse group of artists, showcasing the primary creative concerns that they have worked throughout this past academic semester.

Working side by side, with clay, plaster, metal, video, text and wax we wove our processes together. We inspired and energized each other. Our individual understandings expanded through discussion, storytelling, critiques and sharing.

– Collective Statement


July 5 – July 25, 2022:


Anne Cumming

This July 2021, I have the opportunity to move Procession (I used to refer to this work as “the” procession, but using the definite article “the” somehow seemed to limit the idea from processions in general to a specific procession. I understand that this is a specific procession that I’m making here, but I want to leave room for processions in general) from my home studio into the studio space at the Comox Valley Art Gallery (CVAG). This move will enable me to spread out the elements of Procession so that I can “see” what I have done, what the relationships can be among the various pieces, and what I need to work on next or complete.

– Anne Cumming

October 31 – November 31, 2021:


Kristin Nelson

Winnipeg artist, Kristin Nelson, is undertaking an onsite creative residency. Visitors are invited to drop in on Kristin in CVAG’s lower level Project Room Studio (check in at the gallery reception hub first), where she is working on her new project Nets. A self-serve community make art kiosk in the CVAG studio will give people (all ages, children accompanied by an adult) an opportunity to learn about making nets (supplies provided), alongside Aidan Smith’s Net Making: An Online Workshop.

July 31 – September 2, 2021:


Kelsey Epp

During Kelsey Epp’s creative residency in CVAG’s lower level Project Room Studio, she is focused on Materiality. Expanding on her current farming and artistic practice, she is experimenting with fibre and water.

July 23 – 26, 2021:


Elizabeth Russell

From July 23 – 26, Elizabeth Russell is engaging in a research and production residency at CVAG. Project Room Studio and GATHER:PLACE provide Elizabeth space to prepare work for her upcoming exhibition in the Werkhalle Wiesenburg room for the arts at Die Wiesenburg in Berlin, Germany.


March 17 – September 4, 2021:

Anne Steves in residence at CVAG


Anne Steves

Anne’s research and production residency at CVAG expanded her ongoing community incubator project, a sense of abandon / but not a lack of discipline, which fosters connections between artists working in different places, and continues her “exploration of distance and belonging through making and craft”. During the residency period, Anne continued the labour of expanding this social engagement project onsite at the gallery. Situated in GATHER:PLACE, this incubator project engaged community locally and across Canada. As part of her ongoing research, Anne hosted virtual make art gatherings for the wider community to collage along side her while she was onsite. Documentation of the virtual make art events, slow mail exchanges with artists locally and in faraway places were presented on the CVAG website and through social media. An onsite installation project made her work visible day and night on a large screen that could be seen from the gallery’s outdoor plaza.

December 3, 2020 – September 4, 2021:


Shelley Vanderbyl

During the past year, Shelley conducted research + engaged in collaborative production work at CVAG in the Project Room Studio and at her home studio in preparation for the exhibition Under One Sky. During this time, Shelley further explored her inquiry of signal fires as way-finding / making visible / a calling out into the distance in her fresco work. Simultaneously, she continued to expand her work of painting tiny landscapes inside small medicine tins that fit into a pocket and when opened, become portals for being transported to another world. Exterior influences have further informed Shelley’s research and development. A fire started just outside the doors to Shelley’s working space at the gallery imposed an unexpected staccato in the flow of her onsite residency practice, demanding new responses and articulations in the process of making.

The residency was partially derailed by the fire. The way it intercepted my work that was already about fires, with only a garage door between my studio and the blaze, caused me to stop and consider where I was going. For one thing, I was going out of doors. I hadn’t yet cleared an interior space to work in when I felt the need to continue the project, And the outdoors brought new possibilities.

– Shelley Venderbyl

August 6 – September 28, 2019:


Nadine Bariteau

Nadine Bariteau is at CVAG  until the opening of the exhibition Uncover on September 28, 2019. The artist is developing work that was begun at CVAG in 2018. 

My intention for the residency at CVAG is to work on a new, two-part body of work. I recently started the Stitch series, using found plastic materials most specifically net bags from fruit packaging as a matrix for mono-printing. The series reuses consumer packaging as a way of researching shapes and forms; this process is akin to “sketching” for me and informs my work in other media.

The second part to this body of work is the realization of small models also made from found plastic materials. This Shelter series addresses a basic human right: shelter. My research focus is to explore the possibilities of reusing found materials to make art. Through the use of my chosen materials and the forms I am creating, I am meditating on two issues that are very important to me, and to society as a whole—homelessness and the profusion of waste. By creating shelters from recycled materials, I am exploring a scenario which addresses both problems: utilizing a material that is free and discarded, thereby highlighting the unaffordability of housing—a major issue in the homelessness crisis in Canada—and diverting plastic and a variety of materials from landfills.

The intention during the residency will be to split my time between printmaking and sewing with the intention of building a human-sized version of a shelter with materials found in the Comox Valley.

– Nadine Bariteau

Nadine’s Project Room Facebook Album

March 18 – July 13, 2019:


Gillian Turner

During her Project Room Studio at CVAG, Gillian Turner is developing a body of work for the upcoming exhibition Hold Being Held at the Comox Valley Art Gallery June 27 – September 7 2019.

Water that is safe to drink. Water to bathe in without risk of infection. Shelter providing protection and warmth. For much of my life, I have been fortunate to have had easy access to all of these. For many, these necessities are unaffordable luxuries. In February 2019, the CBC televised a short documentary on the peoples of Garden Hill, Manitoba, drawing attention to the 180 families residing there without potable water or electricity. My own community of Fanny Bay, Vancouver Island, has been on a boil water advisory since last December. With consideration of increased awareness towards the effects of climate change, population growth, and future worldwide potable water shortages, I am making small scale ceramic water cisterns and houses. It is my intention to build 180 of each, for installation during the Comox Valley Art Gallery group exhibition, Container/Contained. It is my wish that eventually all Canadian peoples, and all fellow earth dwellers, will have clean, safe water sources and humane safe shelter within which to live. By creating these objects, the intentions and hopes from within my heart and mind materialize and have presence within the tangible realm. Potential for good within myself connects to the potential and abilities of the materials, encouraging internal reflection and potential dialogue for an observer. My small ceramic forms are made of clay and are fired using atmospheric firing methods, with the intention that the naturally occurring decoration will provide a strong connection of the man-made vessels to the natural world. I am grateful.

– Gillian Turner

April 12 – 27, 2019:


Toby Lawrence

Throughout April, I will activate GATHER:PLACE through interlacing research activities, collaborative actions, and conversations around gestures of hospitality. As this creative-research unfolds in a public forum, my intention is to establish a greater depth of understanding of how these elements operate in practice, pedagogy, and in public, and how they offer a range of ways of being and working in relation.

Through greater attentiveness and sustained commitment to local relevance, the centralization of gestures of hospitality supports nuanced modes of acknowledging, thinking, and practicing together through our differences. Curatorial hospitality engages reciprocity and a continual negotiation of the boundaries of guest-host relations, and through action and ethics, suspends the mythic singularity of the curatorial. This research intentionally puts name to actions to make visible, “to revive” (Somerset 2018), and to explore gestures of curatorial hospitality, wherein guest and host meet one another at the door, so to speak, both prepared to share in the responsibilities, to give and to receive, knowing that “all parties enter collaborations with expertise and that art historical expertise is no more valuable than other kinds of competencies” (Marstine 2014). Within the space of the curatorial, gestures of hospitality function as methodologies for engaged encounters, dialogue, collaboration, and care amongst artists, audiences, communities, and cultural workers. Audre Lorde reminds us: “Without community, there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression. But community must not mean a shedding of our differences” (1983).

– Toby Lawrence

March 16 – 22, 2019:


Madeleine Wood

During her Project Room Studio Artist Madeleine Wood will be essentially moving her studio practice to GATHER:PLACE as an experiment. By working in the downtown core she hopes to encourage dialogue and exchange with the community and welcomes visitors!

More than SUM

We have more than some. Home is more than the sum of its parts.

With this project, I’m responding to the notion of home, as a Vancouver transplant and first time homeowner. In More than SUM, I return to the surface of things and the immediacy of my surroundings, grounded in the tangible details of our renovated house and its property. I’ve been in the process of painting samples from the interior and exterior, contained in a grid pattern of 6” squares to construct a flat, dense, fragmented view. Universal cues are evident in some of the squares, while others are more abstract and obscure. I plan to add individual square panels to trail behind the rest, which could be anything from blank spaces to glimpses of the surrounding environment.

Fragmented, closely cropped images are typical of my work; an impulse borne of self-censorship in a postmodern age. I resist the traditional whole. The density and compression conveniently reflects my life experience: physically limited vision, chaotic family constellations, the clutter of interrupted thoughts and even the shape of my urban life. Today, the slowness of painting feels like an act of resistance against the rapid pace of digital media.

– Madeline Wood

March 9 – 15, 2019:

Scott Bertram

Scott Bertram

Since 2014, Scott Bertram has been periodically exploring a body of work that is somewhat tangential to his primary artistic focus. This body of work consists of applying very fluid acrylic paint to a slick, polyester film surface with large scraping tools. This process creates complex interactions of form and colour that arise out of a few simple, repeated, and layered gestures.

Between March 9-15, Scott will be exploring this painting process further at the GATHER:PLACE studio and the public is invited to drop by Monday-Friday, 10-1pm. Private viewings may also be arranged at alternate times by contacting

March 2 – 8, 2019:


Carole Thompson

Concurrent with the exhibition of work in the exhibition Approaching Painting, Carole Tompson will engage in a Project Room Studio in GATHER:PLACE. During this time, the artist will be exploring the process of making multi-layered transparencies. Working experimentally with acrylic skins, additive crystalline substances, various media and pigments, she will explore their application on mylar and clear vinyl. A large scale hanging will be in progress in GATHER:PLACE along with Carole’s creative research.

February 23 – March 1, 2019:

Problem Solving + Art Chat 

Robert Moon

Problem Solving + Art Chat with Robert Moon will present some of artist, Robert Moon’s past works including two short films “Breath” and “The Entire Trip” (circa 1974), and publications which feature art that he has created over a lifetime. Visitors will have an opportunity to meet with the artist while he is on-site in GATHER:PLACE Monday – Friday from 12PM – 1PM for “problem solving and an art chat”. Works by the artist will be presented in GATHER:PLACE and in the current exhibition Approaching Painting while he is on site and during gallery hours.

February 2 – 8, 2019:


Nicole Crouch

Over the course of the week, Nicole will be experimenting with paper sculpture, as it relates to receiving watercolour paint and video projections of watercolour paintings; exploring the possibilities of sending her practice toward varied spatial dimensions that may or may not receive the transmissions.

January 26 – March 17, 2019:


Barb Hunt

Artist Barb Hunt, will be on-site at the gallery for a Project Room Studio to continue development of an ongoing body of work. The gallery is sharing its resources, large working spaces and surfaces, to support the artist in her work.

The artist will extend invitations for the community to visit her during her working sessions.

December 7 – 15, 2018:


Nadine Bariteau

Artist Nadine Bariteau will be in CVAG’s GATHER:PLACE for a Project Room Studio creative residency.

Inspired by the junction that exists between the natural environment and that fabricated by the human hand, my practice proposes a subtle dialogue that lies somewhere between poetry and social awareness and strives to highlight various ways in which we connect with our surroundings. … my intention will be to cut, print and weave plastic in an attempt to research the best way to create a shelter.

– Nadine Bariteau

August 9-13, 2017:


Renee Sills

Means of Exchange is a series of relational experiences and experiments. Each session includes meditations, creative self-explorations and conversations which invite you to open up about the topics that are hard to look at and harder to talk about. The creative research residency will invite Open Studio Visits, and is comprised of three sessions in which we’ll explore sex, money and death as means for radical politics, generative relationships and vibrant aliveness. Please visit the Means of Exchange event page for further information on the sessions.

July 17- 31, 2017:


Clea Minaker

Clea Minaker will be using the project room for creative residency from July 17- 31, 2017. She will create a research laboratory with kids and interactive experiments using ‘phenomena’ for an upcoming installation/performance with the working title Perception.

July 10 – 12, 2017:

Making Art from ‘Un-Making’ Electronics

Jennifer Margetish 

Providing an opportunity to build and explore art making and electronics ‘un-making’. Participants will be encouraged to explore how to disassemble broken electronics to then use in their art creations.

 May 19 – June 2, 2017:


Jade de Trey

Jade de Trey and Methuselah Dancers will be developing a new dance performance in CVAG’s Project Room Studio. The collaborators will present the results of their dance research in a public performance entitled Timeless – A Wild Blue Yonder, on June 2 as part of the opening events for CVAG’s community show Image to Text to Image, starting at 7pm.

Timeless – A Wild Blue Yonder is a contemporary, creative and intuitive dance about Love, fear, birth and death, performed by Jade de Trey and the Methuselah Dancers. She and they  are a collective of creative and improvisational movement artists from the Comox Valley.

April 28, 2017:

GATHER: Interactive Media Showcase 

Various Artists

After many sleepless nights of art, coding, and design, we are elated to invite family, friends, and the professional community to celebrate the diverse talents of the 2017 North Island College Interactive Media graduating class. There will be a wide range of work on display featuring skills in graphic design, digital art, photography, UI/UX design, and web/mobile applications and designs.

Find us in the lower level of CVAG, in the new Project Room Studio, between 4 pm – 7 pm and share in the celebration!

– Collective Statement

March 23 – April 7, 2017:


Scott Bertram

On exhibition during PULL will be large scale paintings by Scott Bertram that were recently completed during his two week residency at the CVAG’s Project Room Studio. Scott’s artistic practice centres around ideas of improvisation, finding meaning within unintended stimuli, and playing with the dynamics of perception. The resulting images typically contain a degree of ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. More info can be found at

An improvised musical performance by the experimental band Birch will also take place during this event. BIRCH includes members Destanne Lundquist, Jesse Gentes, and Scott Bertram. More info can be found at

March 23, 2017:


Various Artists

Join visiting artists Vida Simon, Jack Stanley, and Rita McKeough for a community potluck in CVAG’s new Project Room Studio on March 23 from 6 – 9PM. A guest appearance by BIRCH will feature Jesse Gentes, Scott Bertram, and Destanne Lundquist.

February 10 – 24, 2017:


Nicole Crouch

Nicole Crouch, an artist and art therapist, will be using the space to air her current body of work, researching, experimenting, altering and generating works.