CVAG to present inaugural Milne Award

First award will go to Jeff Hartbower and Jo Swallow

The Comox Valley Art Gallery will be bustling Saturday afternoon, Jan. 31, with a “Voices of Fire” dialogue on public art at 2 p.m. followed by a volunteer appreciation party at 4 p.m.

The 2 p.m. dialogue will explore the issue of developing a robust policy on public art in the Comox Valley.

“This will be a chance for people to learn more and talk about the role of public art and how it could benefit our community,” says Catherine Quinn, a member of CVAG’s board of directors.

“We will look at why public art is important, we’ll learn more about public art practice in other communities, and we’ll talk about the elements that are necessary for building a strong and successful public art policy.”

Three guest speakers will introduce the topic, and then there will be open discussion.

The guests are Karen Henry, public art program director for the City of Vancouver, Bill Porteous, a Victoria-based artist who helped develop that city’s public art policy, and Ed Varney, a local artist with extensive experience in public art.

The event is part of CVAG’s ongoing public dialogue series called “Voices of Fire”. It’s free and open to the public.

At 4 p.m. CVAG will host a celebration to recognize the crucial contribution of volunteers. Snacks will be served and there is a cash bar. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The party will also be a chance for CVAG to present the first-ever Milne Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts.

The award, named in honour of the late former CVAG president Nonny Milne, will be presented annually to recognize a person, couple or collective that has made an enduring and profound contribution to the arts in our community.

The first award will go to Jeff Hartbower and Jo Swallow, a couple who have provided decades of service to the arts community.

For more details about exhibitions and upcoming events at CVAG, visit or call 250-338-6211.


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