The hearts of eight female artists beating as one

Not long ago eight women sat around a kitchen table discussing what was important in life.

LANI ALTON is a member of the Comox Valley H'artists.


Not long ago eight women sat around a kitchen table discussing what was important in life.

Community, support and communication made it to the top of the list. A close second was having a sufficient amount of fun and funds.

And so the Comox Valley H’artists (sounds like heart), a diverse group of female artists ranging in age, artistic discipline and background, was formed. Their goal is to collaborate, celebrate uniqueness and support the artist within.

On Friday, Dec. 9 from 6 to 10 p.m., they will share the results of their endeavor at the Corre Alice Gallery in Cumberland.

In addition to pottery, painting and sketches, the opening reception will include live music by Kel Kelly, wine tastings with Coastal Black winery, coffee and tea from Mudsharks, appetizers from Monte Cristo and chocolates from Hot Chocolates. There are door prizes, too.

“We call the show 16 Legs to Stand On because it is an example of how eight artists can all stand together, work as one and share the load with each other,” says Evangeline van der Heide. “So often, we lead sheltered, independent lives — trying to succeed on our own. 16 Legs to Stand On recognizes the need of support from like-minded individuals and commitment to work collectively as a whole.”

The idea for the art show began with van der Heide and her two roommates, Regina Schumann and Stephanie Warkenton. The next thing they knew, Cori Sandler, Eira-Shay Barker-Hart, Patricia van der Heide and Helen Gamble had joined in.

Schuman is a care aid for Lani Alton, a young woman with cerebral palsy. When Alton heard what was going on, she wanted to be part of it as well.

“Although not everyone still lives in the Comox Valley, we all have strong roots here,” notes van de Heide. “This show is the start of something we’d all like to see continue.”

Each of the artists produced their own work for the show and they also came together to create a series of special handcrafted pottery mugs.

“The mugs fully embody our concept and values,” says van der Heide. “It was a commitment to get together and work together, as well as being a lesson in communication and organizing. Making these mugs for and with Lani was a fun way to do something collaboratively and to show her our support.”

Another unique item in the exhibit are the clay broaches with, “I can’t remember your name either,” on them.

Proceeds from mug sales and the first 100 broaches will go to the Lani Alton Society. Alton has cerebral palsy and requires extensive support and medical care that isn’t always covered by the medical system.

And the purchase of any piece of art, a mug or broach comes with an entry form for a big draw at 3 p.m. on Dec. 30, the last day of the show.

Prizes include a one-day sailing adventure with lunch for two, a date at Atlas Café, a gift certificate for Monte Christo’s, a felted scarf by Ann Marie Lisch, free NIA ( and free Music Together classes (

There will also be a silent auction featuring a screen print intimately connected to Alton.

“Lani is very limited in her physical abilities,” says van der Heide. “But she still feels and communicates, just in a different way than speech. The screen print is intimately connected with Alton and expresses the theme of communication and the varying abilities to do so.”


“The whole experience of planning and getting ready for the show has been fun and interactive,” adds van der Heide. “We’re so happy to have the support of the community in the way of door prizes and draws and thrilled that we can use our artistic abilities to raise much needed funds for Lani.”

The Corre Alice Gallery is at 2781 Dunsmuir Ave. in the old Frelone’s building in Cumberland. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



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