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Comox Valley art gallery owner wins prestigious community award

Artful : The Gallery owner Kristina Campbell is the recipient of the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s 2024 Nonny Milne Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts. Photo supplied

Multi-media artist Kristina Campbell took a big risk when she opened the doors to Artful: The Gallery four years ago in downtown Courtenay.

Campbell was striving to match her own needs as an artist with the community’s need for more exhibition space.

The existing models of publicly-funded art centres, commercial galleries, or artist collectives didn’t provide what she was looking for, so she embarked on something new and ambitious.

The result is Artful: The Gallery, a unique space that presents art exhibitions, hosts readings and events, and serves as an informal hub for dozens of artists in the community. It is also a personal studio space where Campbell creates her own artwork.

When Artful was first conceived it was not only an untried concept, but the original opening planned for March 2020 was delayed several months by COVID.

Despite the challenges, four years later Artful is thriving. More than 70 artists have presented work at the gallery since its opening.

Recognizing Campbell’s accomplishments, she was selected as this year’s winner of the Nonny Milne Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts.

Campbell received the award at the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s annual general meeting on May 23.

“It has been a wild, woolly and wonderful experience bringing my artful existence into fruition through Artful: The Gallery,” Campbell said after receiving the award. “Having a project that has been so personally meaningful to me has allowed me to keep pressing on, even when every sensible bone in my body has suggested that I stop. I love that I didn’t give up, and I love the community that has rallied around me.”

CVAG presents the Milne Award every year to an individual or collective that has made substantial, ongoing contributions to the arts in Comox Valley. The award is named after the late Nonny Milne, a former CVAG president who dedicated her life to championing the arts.

For more information on Campbell’s gallery, visit

Other AGM business

At the annual general meeting, CVAG members selected the board of directors for the coming year, reviewed 2023 programming, and acknowledged outgoing secretary John Heintz for his eight years of service as a board member.

CVAG is currently installing its upcoming exhibition Before, Now, After by Quebec artist Diane Landry. The opening event will take place Saturday, June 15, at 1 p.m.