In March 2010, I received a phone call from Steve Staresina, an Oliver painter who I had known as one of the Oliver artists associated with the Quails Nest Arts Center. Steve had a vision that, because of the closure of an established commercial gallery on Oliver’s Main Street, an opportunity had arisen to create a new commercial gallery dedicated exclusively to local artists from the south Okanagan. He was determined to make sure Oliver continued to have a community art gallery. The Oliver Art Gallery – well into its third year – exists because of his vision. No dreams however – no matter how noble – are brought about without effort. A few hundred hours of ‘sweat equity’ were invested in bringing about this vision – by Steve in particular and his intrepid assistants including yours truly. In April 2010 the Oliver Art Gallery opened its doors with six members. Today it is a registered artists Co-operative with twenty one members and running like a well oiled machine.
This month, Steve is the featured artist at the Oliver Art Gallery. His choice of medium is oil and acrylic and his subject matter is the landscapes and people of western Canada. As a child living in Croatia, Steve was influenced by Roko Stokic, a wheelchair bound artist with whom he spent countless hours sketching hands, feet, faces and figures of friends and neighbours. He stood out among his peers and had his first art gallery show at the age of seven. He has had a varied career in business and the construction industry but has devoted himself to painting full time only since retirement. He is a participating member of a number of arts organizations including the Oliver Community Arts Council, Oliver Sagebrushers and the Oliver Art Gallery Artists Co-operative.
Steve’s work will dominate the gallery during September. Come and view his art Tuesday through Saturdays between 11:00AM and 4:00PM at 6046 Main Street in Oliver.
The Oliver Art Gallery is also presenting Art Classes for the fall. Come in and register for drawing classes, painting classes, pastels and more.