MacNeill wins jury prize at SSNAP

Katherine MacNeill, a member of the Oliver Community Arts Council, is having a winning autumn. Skilled as a mixed media collage artist, Katherine recently took home a coveted jury prize at the biennial Salt Spring National Art Prize (SSNAP), organized by one of the premier arts communities in Canada. Her submission, “Offroad East of Oyama BC”  was among the 50 shortlisted by an independent jury over the summer, out of a huge field of 2,000 works of art from across the country.

Eight winners were announced at the Gala Awards Night on Salt Spring Island on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Five awards were selected by jurors, and MacNeill’s work was one of these.  Three other works were selected by public vote.

In her artist statement, MacNeill explains: “My collages involve the collection, assembly and gluing of torn or cut paper and other recycled materials to recreate, for the most part, close and personal images of landscapes on canvas. Reusing old calendars, discarded magazines and books gives new vitality to re-purposed consumer goods.”

Katherine MacNeill also took home “Best in Show” and first prize in Mixed/Other Media at the Fall Art Show and Sale on September 30.

Art for People with Special Abilities

It is my belief that everyone, of all ages and abilities, has the right to freedom of creative expression through the arts. Adults with disabilities in the South Okanagan up until now have had very little opportunity to express their individual creativity through community based arts programs.

A pilot program called “Art for People with Special Abilities” was held in August of 2017 involving adults from the Oliver Day program (part of the South Okanagan Association for Integrated Community Living; SOAICL). Three volunteer instructors and 9 adults and 5 staff members participated in the 3 hour morning program. The response to this trial program was overwhelmingly positive. Please see attached photos for some visual images from that day.

A proposal for monthly meetings and support for the program was presented to the Oliver Arts Council Board of Directors in September of 2017. The board approved a motion to sponsor and financially support the pilot program.

We are now seeking volunteer instructors for our scheduled Oct. 26, Nov. 16 and Dec. 14 2017 morning sessions at the Quail’s nest Studio space. Funds are available to pay for basic supplies and to pay instructors an hourly wage. For further information please contact J. Bednarczyk at:

This pilot program is FREE and open to anyone living in the South Okanagan who has mental or physical disabilities. The space is wheelchair accessible. Feel free to drop in and check us out. No pre-registration is required.

Janet Bednarczyk


Please note that all participants shown in these photographs have given written permission for use of these photographs to be shared.

First concert, four hands

On Friday, November 10th the South Okanagan Concert Society will stage electrifying duets when Matt Herskowitz and John Roney, each on separate grand pianos, duel with each other as they incorporate  jazz and world beat influences into classical masterpieces.   Recognized internationally for their daring integration of jazz and classical music, they call their performance “Classics with a Jazzy Touch”.   It will be held in the beautiful new Venables Theatre in Oliver at 7:30 pm.

Tickets for this crowd pleasing event can be obtained online or at the theatre box office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10 and 3 pm.  All four concerts of the season, bought in advance, cost $19 each.  Any 2 or 3 tickets in advance are $21/ticket.   A single ticket in advance is $23 and a single ticket at the door is $25.   Children and Youth can come and explore their wide ranging tastes and interests for only $2.50!

Matt and John are internationally recognized pianists who arrived at the intersection of two musical styles from opposing directions:  Matt came to jazz via a  classical background having studied at classical conservatories including the Juilliard School and learned jazz on the streets.  John came to classical via jazz.  He studied at jazz conservatories including McGill, Berklee and the Henry Mancini Institute and learned classical on the streets!  In addition to being pianists, both were experienced composers and arrangers and brought developed ‘voice’ to the due.   As Piano Cameleons, their combined talents have created a unique ensemble in its virtuosity and artistic vision.   They manage to truly balance a classic sensibility with the freedom of jazz improvisation.

Blessed with total technical command, each pianist is capable of remarkable keyboard prowess.  Every concert is like an emotional rollercoaster that can soar from quiet pools to ecstatic peaks of intensity in one magnificent ride.  These partners are in total synch with each other and provide a visual treat in the very way they exchange glances, cueing in each new twist with a twinkle in the eye.

You can hear their individual styles in the performances.  They speak of their own distinct harmonic, melodic and rhythmic language yet they love to blend and compliment each other.  The process is exciting especially as they leave space in the midst of their arrangements to improvise and exchange original ideas ‘on the fly’.

Expect a stimulating evening of sensational music with well known pieces, heard as if for the first time, in a new context.    November can be a bleak month.   This concert promises to be anything but bleak!   Come and treat yourself!!

The Oliver Handbell Ringers will perform in the theatre foyer prior to the concert (6:45 to 7:15).    Look for more information on this talented local group.

Join the covey!

Quail lay their eggs in the spring and summer, but we start “renewing” our covey in the fall and winter.

As December approaches, now is the time to fill out your membership form for 2018. Right click and save the image below or open the link to a PDF Membership Form 2018 and print off your form.

What do you get? A subscription to the Creative Minds newsletter (10 issues per year) delivered to your Inbox on the day of publication. For artists, there are discounts on entries to the Fall Art Show and Sale, and participation in the Wine Capital Art Walk. For arts lovers, there are occasional special offers and advance notices on upcoming events and projects. Rental of the Quail’s Nest Art Centre is also made available to members only. For art-loving non-profits and for-profits, we are media savvy, providing advertising and promotion across a number of platforms. 


Oliver Grandmothers for Africa

A lively and upbeat meeting of the Oliver Grandmothers for Africa took place October 5th.   Two things led to high spirits.   The first was that Shirley Polk agreed to lead the group again for the coming year.   Her organizational skills and commitment have been a major factor in the success of the group.   The second was that treasurer, Leslie Marriott, announced $2000 had been raised by the group at the Festival of the grape and would be sent to the Stephen Lewis Foundation immediately to support grassroots assistance to African grandmothers facing the challenges of the AIDS pandemic on their families and communities. African Grandmothers, pressed by necessity, are taking multiple orphans into their homes, without any idea of how they will be able to feed so many mouths or heal so many broken hearts.

Money raised at FOG this year represents the single most financially successful fund raiser for the local group and speaks to the dedication of the members who sew and design items for sale as well as some high powered but friendly sales techniques. Oliverites and beyond now know about the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and are happy to make purchases that give them personal satisfaction as well as a sense of helping a very worthy cause.

The next important fund raiser will be the Fall Frenzy at Medici’s on Friday, October 20th from 10 to 3 pm.   (Watch for the familiar bright yellow posters around town.) Grab a few friends and come along to shop for beautiful bead and craft work done in Africa and for items also created locally.   It is a wonderful way to get a head start on your Christmas gift list, enjoy coffee or lunch with friends and know that every purchase helps open up new worlds of possibility for the people and communities who have been hit hardest by the HIV & AIDS pandemic.

The amazing Reveen will mesmerize you!

One of the most popular shows in the history of Canadian theatre is back! Reveen, the Superconscious Experience, on its Western Canadian BC Tour 2017.

Reveen was seen by over 6 million Canadians and now the legend continues as the son of the original Reveen, takes you to the inner and outer reaches of your imagination.

Since 1955, many people worldwide remember the Great Reveen, who entranced audiences for more than five decades with his mesmerizing and hilarious hypnotic shows, high-speed memory demonstrations, and mystical showmanship. Now son Tyrone Reveen is following in his father’s footsteps and continuing the family tradition. Ty learned his craft from the grand master himself – his father taught him everything he knew. The new Reveen show is playing in front of sold out audiences throughout Canada from British Columbia to St. John’s Newfoundland. The Superconscious Experience allows audience members to become the stars in one of the wildest and funniest shows that has left millions of people crying with laughter all over the world.

One-woman show will surprise & delight

Jake’s Gift, a beautifully written, critically acclaimed play is coming to the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver on Saturday October 21st at 7:30 p.m.

Canadian actress and playwright Julia Mackay delights audiences with Jake’s Gift, a surprisingly funny drama that tells the story of a Canadian WW2 veteran’s reluctant return to Normandy, France, for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. While roaming the shores of Juno Beach, Jake encounters Isabelle, a precocious ten-year-old from the local village whose inquisitive nature and charm challenge the old soldier to confront some long-ignored ghosts – most notably, the wartime death of his eldest brother, Chester, a once promising young musician.

Julia Mackay plays both roles: veteran Jake and precocious Isabelle. Mackay has won many awards for Jake’s Gift: outstanding performer, outstanding production, and best new play among them.

At its heart, Jake’s Gift is about the legacy of remembrance and makes personal the story behind one soldier’s grave. Since 2007, Juno Productions has toured this multi award-winning play to over 230 communities across Canada including international stops in Washington State, Tiverton & Birmingham, England, and to Normandy, France, for the 70th and 73rd Anniversary of D-Day.

Julia Mackay shares Jake’s Gift with us on Saturday October 21st at 7:30 at Frank Venables Theatre, 6100 Gala St, (corner of Fairview Rd) Oliver. Tickets are available online at and at the Theatre Box Office. For information, please visit our website or call (250) 498-1626.

Friay night Live is coming

by David Badger

Episode XVIII is rollin’ down the tracks. We have turned up our ‘oh so hot’ music just a few degrees as the weather cools. October 13th. The music is ‘off the charts’! The House is packed!….The joint is definitely jumpin’! Tons of musicians. Get there early to get a spot on the ‘play list’. This valley is chock full of great musicians with incredible music……Get up, come down, get in and get it on!!!

Come kick the doors down with your own vibe. We are gonna be packed. The music is gonna blow the doors off. The beer is cold and the music IS of course always sooooo HOT! We crank it up shortly after 7:00….all we need is you! Bring your music!! Bring your fun!! Bring your mum. Get in here!!

We are licensed. We have beer, wine, coffees with a kick and our usual great gelato and snacks, sweet treats. Medici’s this Friday, September 29th at 7:00 PM. 522 Fairview Road. 250-498-2228.

FASS 2018 THEME: Go with the Flow

The THEME of the 2018 Fall Art Show & Sale was announced on the weekend: “Go with the Flow”.

Here are just a few inspirations to get you started:
* the flowing application of a paintbrush or drip techniques,
* rippling jewelry designs, 
* curved shapes in wood, metal and glass,
* capturing movement in photography such as dance or a bicycle race or a windy day,
* relaxing fluid abstract shapes, or
* get socio-political and make an artistic comment on “group-think”.
* maybe it’s the technique you use
* maybe it’s the colours you choose.

What does going with the flow mean in your life? Taking it easy? Letting others decide? Jumping into a current of thought with both feet and seeing where it takes you?

Go with your own artistic flow, and start dreaming of your Fall Art Show and Sale submission for next year.

Dates: September 29 – 30, 2018
Early Bird Draw Deadline: Thursday September 6, 2018
Entry Form Deadline: Friday September 7, 2018
Extension for Youth Artists ONLY: Friday September 14, 2018

NEW Entry forms will be available by April 2018, but the 2017 entry forms are still up on our website (see “Forms” on website banner) for reference.

Potluck – WOW!

Women of Oliver for Women – WOW is hosting a potluck social on Tuesday October 17 for prospective members. Membership is open to women who are interested in helping WOW achieve the goal of “Enriching the lives of women and children in our community and beyond”.

Meetings are held the third Tuesday of every month from September to June, at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre.  Please contact Nita at 250-498-7029 if you would like to come to the potluck.

WOW is a group of Oliver women working together for the betterment of women and families.  The ladies generate funds through three major fundraisers – the annual MAINLY FOR WOMEN TRADE SHOW, a Christmas Auction and the Swinging Skirts Charity Golf Tournament.

They are out there! They are busy and they are making a difference!  The Town of Oliver presented WOW with the Spirit of Oliver Award for a service group in 2017.

Fall Art Show & Sale 2017

Leza Macdonald (L) & Best in Show winner Diane Gane, ready for fall at the Fall Art Show & Sale

What a weekend! Thank you to all who were a part of the Fall Art Show & Sale! A host of volunteers, totalling about 300 person-hours from Friday to Sunday, worked incredibly hard to bring a fabulous show to fruition.

The FASS opened from 3 to 9 p.m. on Saturday September 30. There was a steady stream of visitors throughout most of the day and evening. Three hundred ballots were cast, but more than that attended the event on Saturday. Many came through who chose not to vote, simply to take in the displays, mingle, and listen to the live music.

One painting sold on the Saturday: The Grapevine, by Deacon Green, in the Budding Artist (12 years and under).  The work was purchased by someone who was neither a family member nor acquaintance, just someone who admired his work.

The dessert reception was lovely, catered by Caroline Whyte and sponsored in part by Buy-Low Foods. Visitors enjoyed tasty punches, fruits and baked treats. Jazz Out West with Iris Larratt performed jazz standards through the evening.

Kendra Leinor (L) wins the Emerging Artist category for “Dad’s Early Years”, presented by VP Janice Goodman

The awards presentation went very smoothly, beginning at 8:30 p.m. The only tie was an exceptionally rare tie in the overall “Best in Show” category: Diane Gane’s The EmBODYment of Peter Max (Three-Dimensional) and Katherine MacNeill’s Daybreak (Mixed / Other Media).

Featured exhibits by the Exploration group (Double O Quilters) and the RipOff Artists had timely appeal, each celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday with scenes of Canada and artwork inspired by famous Canadian artists.

New this year was the addition of Honourable Mentions to encourage work that received many votes but not sufficient to place in the top three, or which had special merit. This year, these were only awarded to 4th place artists who placed very close to 3rd in each of the Budding and Emerging Artists (youth) categories. See below for a list of all the award winners. Winners received a certificate, trophy plate, and a quail trophy. This year trophy bases were designed by Russell Moore, using wood salvaged from the old Venables Auditorium.

“Oaxaca, Mexico 2017” by Val Friesen wins 3rd in Photography

On Sunday, large crowds attended the Fall Art Show & Sale as part of their admission to the Festival of the Grape. In part this was due to scattered rain showers and chilly winds on the festival grounds outside. Kind promotion by Festival of the Grape also guided FOG participants to the hall. The buzz from the crowds in the hall gave the show some great energy on Sunday. There were many positive comments about the work on display. Particularly impressive was the size and quality of the Photography category. Also sparking favourable comments were the two sizable youth categories, the skill level in fibre arts, and the unusual materials employed in mixed media and three-dimensional art.

The arts council sold many pieces of art on Sunday, the majority being large, award-winning works by well-known photographers: Paul Eby, Merle Somerville, and Peter Hovestad all sold. The Best in Show collage (and Mixed Media category winner) by Katherine MacNeill also sold.

Katherine MacNeill places 1st in Mixed/Other Media, ties for Best in Show, and sells her extraordinary collage “Daybreak”

A second youth painting sold on Sunday as well: Morgan Munday’s Imagine Mountains. We are always pleased when youth artwork sells, as this gives young people the full experience of entering an art show: from creating art, to filling out the entry form, to submitting the artwork, winning an award, and perhaps selling it. It is a terrific learning experience for  youth, and encourages them to see the value of exhibiting art, and to continue their involvement in the arts community as adults.

The stocked wine fridge draw complete with 19 bottles of wine, was a huge attraction at the door both days. The arts council is very grateful to its winery donors. Their bottles on display  always attract interest and discussion! Thank you to participating wineries for adding an extra touch of class to this event! Their links are available year-round on our website and are reproduced below:

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Cana Vines Winery
C.C. Jentsch Cellars
Desert Hills
Gehringer Brothers Wines
Gold Hill Winery
Intersection Winery
Kismet Estate Winery
Liquidity Wines
Montakarn Estate Winery
Quinta Ferreira
River Stone Estate Winery
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
vinAmite Cellars

The wine fridge winner was Nadine Evans. She received a wine cooler and nineteen bottles of local wines,  about $600 value.

Photo Credit: Val Friesen