Plenty new at Comox Valley Art Gallery

New look, new exhibits and new personnel have art gallery enthusiasts buzzing

Comox valley art Gallery curator Angela Somerset and executive director Glen Sanford enjoy the form and function of visual artist Heather Koning’s chairs in front of the gallery. Three new exhibits

Comox valley art Gallery curator Angela Somerset and executive director Glen Sanford enjoy the form and function of visual artist Heather Koning’s chairs in front of the gallery. Three new exhibits

Paula Wild

Record Arts


Art isn’t just a pretty picture on a wall. It’s about creators stretching their limits and viewers being exposed to new interpretations of what art is and what it means to them.

The Comox Valley is fortunate to have a publically funded gallery that facilitates the exchange of ideas on the meaning and context of art physically, emotionally and culturally.

Three very diverse exhibits are currently on display at the Comox Valley Art Gallery in downtown Courtenay. In addition, the storefront window space is hosting live performances and installations and the art gallery foyer is set up with a video viewing booth showcasing the work of the CVAG Youth Media Project.

“The programming is quite complex,” says Angela Somerset, CVAG curator. “We’re implementing the strategic plan that was begun several years ago with a big emphasis on bold and provocative art and as much outreach into the community as possible.”

“Insterstice: An Intervening Space” features the work of five Emily Carr University graduates from the North Island College Fine Arts Program in the contemporary gallery and runs until June 14.

Judi Pedder, a Comox painter known for her vibrant and colourful watercolours, is exhibiting paintings and dye on silk in the community gallery. “Aqua, Colour, Florum” runs until June 21.

And on display in the George Sawchuk gallery until May 21 is “Faces: Familiar and Friends,” a presentation of drawings by senior secondary students Haeli Frost-Mitchell and Lindsay Nixon.

The “Window Project” is a series of installations by a variety of artists running Tuesdays through Saturdays with live performances choreographed by Carrie Tannant in the gallery front window every Saturday from 2 to 4 pm. Visit for more details.

“in-a-vision” is the work of participants in the CVAG Youth Media Project.  Working as a team, the nine youth have created videos expressing their vision for change in the Comox Valley. Until June 14 the videos run on a loop feed at a viewing terminal just inside the gallery doors.

But a change in exhibits isn’t all that’s new at CVAG. Renovations on the main floor and basement have given the community gallery a cleaner, more contemporary look, better utilized storage space and transformed the lower level into an office, media lab and art laboratory.

Also new to CVAG is Glen Sanford. In January Sanford took the place of Sharon Karsten as executive director during her one year maternity leave.

Born and raised in the Valley, Sanford graduated from Vanier Secondary in 1979 and studied Fine Arts at the University of Concordia. A long-time fan of the Arts Alliance (previous name of CVAG), Sanford has volunteered or served as a director for many galleries and has an extensive background in film. His work has been shown at festivals around the world and received the Best Documentary Award at Cinema Concordia and Best work from an Emerging Artist at the Images Festival in Toronto.

Angela Somerset is another new face at the gallery since the beginning of the year. Originally from Winnipeg, Somerset obtained an MFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in 1993 and, since that time, has developed an award-winning interdisciplinary art practise involving independent and collaborative projects across Canada.

Prior to moving to BC, she worked in the Winnipeg arts community and at the University of Manitoba. A Valley resident for three years, Somerset taught at North Island College before joining CVAG.

“It’s a large responsibility to provide opportunities for community members and to bring in work people can experience in different ways,” she admits. “My goal is to create a meaningful balance between community support and ways to stretch people’s perceptions and comfort zones. I enjoy the challenge of calling out that curiosity and working on the edge of discomfort.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

One of the rescues at CATS - Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society’s new location on Knight Road in Comox. Photo by Erin Halushak
Feline rescue organization growing into new space

Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society opens new facility on Knight Road

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Neighbours have reached out to media on several occasions with complaints about the property

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Tentative COVID-19 vaccine site chosen in the Comox Valley

B.C. is moving into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 mass immunization plan

Cumberland is considering downtown densification proposals, and with that comes questions around parking, among other things. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Water bottling ban, parking key changes for Cumberland zoning

Bylaw on amendments still need adoption following March 2 hearing

Sean LaFleur and Geoff Piper of Courtenay Nissan will be running 4 miles every 4 hours all weekend long in a fundraising campaign for YANA (You Are Not Alone).
VIDEO: Courtenay Nissan hosting YANA fundraiser

Courtenay Nissan is hosting a special YANA fundraiser all weekend long, from… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

The Courtenay Fire Department hopes to start a new recruit training program in mid-2021, pending Provincial Health Orders. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay Fire Department gets creative

Due to public health orders resulting from COVID, the Courtenay Fire Department… Continue reading

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read