This year the Nanaimo chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists is celebrating its 30th year with their biggest Fine Art Show yet.
“We really tried to make it a bigger show to highlight the productivity and the creativity of this group,” said Charlotte Mougeot, Nanaimo FCA vice-president and art show chair. “So I really tried to push, squeezing more paintings in that room so that’s going to be our big celebration.”
This year’s three-day Fine Art Show, the group’s fourth annual, will feature 110 paintings by 51 of the chapter’s members. The exhibition is returning to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre’s Dodd Narrows Room, with an opening reception on Nov. 1. Among the jurors for the 30th anniversary show is national FCA president Dene Croft, which Mougeot said is “a fairly big deal.”
“It’s like Wayne Gretzky coming to your hockey game,” she said.
The Nanaimo chapter enters its 30th year with 98 members, around twice as many as there were when current president Claudia Lohmann joined the group nearly 10 years ago. She said membership has grown because of the opportunities they offer members for demonstrations, workshops and exhibitions.
“Everything really is working and looking great at the moment for our group,” she said. “So I’m proud that we’ve lived as long as we did because in the beginning it was for sure more [of a] struggle than it is now.”
Lohmann said it’s always been a challenge to attract younger members, but Mougeot said the group has been making gains in that area. She said they’ve worked hard at “revitalizing” the Nanaimo chapter.
“For us this 30th anniversary is really a celebration of this new face: More diverse, more inclusive…” Mougeot said. “It’s been really rewarding to see that injection of new faces, new styles, new methods. Just a lot of new energy is great to see.”
Among those new faces is landscape painter Sarah Boileau. Boileau joined the Nanaimo FCA almost two years ago after moving back to her home province following a decade in Edmonton. Last year was her first Fine Art Show and her lone entry, Schooner Cove Trail, was named second-in-show, a feat she called “pretty amazing.”
“They’ve been very welcoming,” Boileau said of the group. “I’m younger than a lot of them so I think they’re kind of excited to see some people that are younger artists because a lot of people wait until they retire to pursue it. They’ve been great and it’s really given me more of a sense of community.”
This year Boileau has three pieces in the show: A waterfall near Sooke, a sunset from Tofino and a river near Gold River. But she doesn’t only paint the West Coast.
“I go and see different parts of the world and everywhere I go I fall in love with it and then I just I have to paint it,” she explained. “I kind of fall in love with the world every time I explore a new place. It just really connects and it just makes me decide that I need to capture that feeling and communicate it back out to other people.”
WHAT’S ON … 2019 Nanaimo Fine Art Show takes place at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre Dodd Narrows Room, 101 Gordon St., on Nov. 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Opening awards reception and Meet the Artists Evening on Nov. 1 from 7 to 9 p.m.