At the artist-run Art 10 Gallery there are binders full of newspaper clippings tracing its 35-year history and the achievements of more than 120 artists who at one time called themselves members.
When Dorothy Sevcov looks through those pages, after making a few self-deprecating remarks regarding the side-effects of aging, she’s reminded of decades spent with friends.
“I just cannot believe I’ve been coming here every second Tuesday for 35 years,” she said.
Ten members of the Nanaimo Group of Artists founded Art 10 Gallery in 1983 at the encouragement of art instructor Doris Paterson, who passed away in 2014. Sevcov is one of those founding members and the only one remaining active with the gallery.
“There were no art galleries or nothing in Nanaimo as far as going to see an art show. There was nothing. Once in a while at the college they’d have something,” Sevcov said of Nanaimo in the early ’80s.
“So we thought – it was very pompous of us – we thought, ‘Let’s educate Nanaimo as to what art is,’ and so everybody was doing experimental work, not just pretty pictures.”
The gallery was originally housed in Harbour Park Mall, currently the site of Port Place. Over the years Art 10 has occupied space in every mall in the city and for the past eight years it has called Nanaimo North Town Centre home.
On July 9 and 10 Art 10’s members will again endeavour to provide Nanaimo with an art education when the group celebrates its 35th anniversary with two days of art demonstrations at Nanaimo North Town Centre. Fourteen artists will present painting, pottery, ink sketching, jewellery making, printing, wax art, glass art, card making, calligraphy and pastels.
The gallery has invited alumni, many who have since joined prestigious groups and galleries, to attend the celebration. Sevcov said many members joined and have remained with the gallery for years at a time because of its supportive atmosphere and cohesive personalities.
“They’ve all just grown so much as artists and gained such confidence in themselves as artists … and also art is a very solitary occupation and so really sometimes the only time I get out is to come here or to another art group,” Sevcov said.
Over the 35th anniversary weekend, Sevcov will be demonstrating encaustic art, creating images using melted wax. She said the gallery has nurtured art appreciation in Nanaimo and exposed visitors to new art forms. She said the group had cultivated a following.
Art 10 Gallery president Lynda Colbeck, who will demonstrate pottery throwing at the mall, said visitors regularly come to the gallery to ask about Sevcov’s work.
“I’ve had people come in and they say, ‘Is Dorothy still here?’ and I’ll go, ‘Yeah, there’s her work … she’s still painting. She’s still doing her thing.’”
WHAT’S ON … Art 10 Gallery’s 35th anniversary celebration takes place at Nanaimo North Town Centre on Saturday, June 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. The celebration coincides with the opening reception for June feature artist Rod Corraini’s An Observation of Crows. Demonstrations will be held at the mall on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.