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Comox Valley Art Gallery honours lifelong contributions to the arts

Four new recipients of the Milne Award

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the Nonny Milne Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts is back.

The award was developed by the Comox Valley Art Gallery in 2015 in honour of the late Nonny Milne — a former CVAG president and life-long champion of the arts who was instrumental in relocating the Gallery to its current site at the former fire hall in downtown Courtenay.

The Milne Award is presented each year to an individual, family or collective that has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to the arts. Because of COVID restrictions that prevented in-person gatherings in 2020 and 2021, the award presentation was delayed.

But this year, the gallery presented a triple-header at its annual general meeting at the end of May.

Roger Albert and Carolyn Kirk-Albert were presented the award for 2020. The dynamic couple have served the Comox Valley arts community in many ways over the years. Roger is a former CVAG president, and Carolyn has served on the board of directors for many years. They are both instrumental in the Cumberland Museum Society, and Roger’s blog (Always a Sociologist: Now Living With Myeloma) is a powerful and candid discussion about living with disease.

K’ómoks Elder Barb Whyte was presented the award for 2021. Whyte is a carrier of the Coast Salish Healing Wand. She works with food and plants for medicine and was part of the North Island Hospital Development Project for five years, co-ordinating the all-nations room, and the hospital’s plant medicine garden. She guided the planting of a traditional Indigenous garden on the CVAG plaza, she is a key member of CVAG’s “Walk With Me” project, and as a traditional knowledge-keeper with District 71 Aboriginal Education has delivered many presentations to teachers, students and the wider community.

Accountant Stu Barry was presented the award for 2022. For a decade he presided over dramatic growth and increased complexity for CVAG’s finances, helping to provide greater transparency and accountability. CVAG executive director Glen Sanford described Barry as “an unsung hero” for doing work is often unacknowledged but is critical for organizational survival and growth. “We would not be where we are today without his dedicated service,” said Sanford.

CVAG president Jasmin Badrin was re-elected for a two-year term at the annual meeting. She is part of a 12-member volunteer board of directors that provides oversight to the Comox Valley Art Gallery.

The Gallery’s next exhibition will feature the work of Internationally renowned artist Marlene Creates of Newfoundland. The exhibition runs from June 15 to Sept. 10, with the opening event taking place Thursday, June 16, at 7 p.m. For details visit

ALSO: Comox Valley Art Gallery receives grant for capital improvements