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Kootenay Creatures

The Art of Celebrating The Kootenays

The people living in and those visiting The Kootenays know there is much to celebrate about this little slice of paradise called the West and East Kootenay: the traditional homelands and unceded territory of the Ktunaxa, the Kinbasket (Secwepemc), Syilx, and Sinixt Peoples. Art Gallery Kimberley owner and operator Irma de Visser is organising an artistic celebration of our region by inviting all (aspiring) artists from The Kootenays and beyond to enter up to three artworks for a chance to win the Kootenay Art Prize. The theme for the 2024 adjudicated art exhibition is “Kootenay Creatures”.

As Kimberley | k̓ukamaʔnam is within Ktunaxa ?amak?is, the traditional homelands of the Ktunaxa Nation, Irma encourages all curious souls to read about and/or listen to the captivating Creation Story of the Ktunaxa Nation.

The idea for an open art exhibition emerged from the desire to give more artists a chance to display their artworks at the gallery. The gallery space is limited, and even though the (solo) art exhibition space in the gallery gives other artists the opportunity to showcase a body of work for a limited time, this space got fully booked early on in the first year of the gallery’s existence. Since winter is a slower time for the gallery, Irma decided to organise an art exhibition in the (solo) art exhibition space that is open to everyone. This creates another chance for artists to show and sell their artworks in this high traffic part of Kimberley, BC, as well as a great opportunity to connect with art collectors and peers.

Along with the awesome experience of being part of this celebration of fine art and The Kootenays, entering artworks into this exhibition has other benefits for artists. A guaranteed spot for their artwork(s) in the online gallery and in the webshop for a month; exposure; a chance at winning prizes; and adding value to their CV to name a few.

Since Irma has helped organise many open art exhibitions during her seven years working as the administrative assistant at Centre 64 Gallery, the organisation of this kind of show is easy and fun. The only challenge is to fit as many artworks as possible into the exhibition space without losing the space needed for the artworks to “breath” and show properly. Connecting the artists with each other and meeting new artists is a part of the exhibition that brings Irma the most joy.

The open exhibition will be available in the gallery and online on the gallery website from February 1st through February 25th, 2024. Everyone is welcome to join the artists at the opening reception on February 9th between 7 and 9 pm.

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