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Updated: Feb 3, 2023

Irma de Visser, owner of Art Gallery Kimberley, is preparing an art exhibition entitled “Kootenay Culture”. This open juried exhibition is a celebration of Visual Art and The Kootenays. The term “open” means that everybody was invited to enter their artwork in this exhibition.

The exhibition offers a chance for artists that aren’t currently represented in the art gallery to showcase their talent and sell their artwork at the gallery as well as an opportunity to connect with other artists and art collectors. Art Gallery Kimberley is conveniently located in the heart of the downtown pedestrian area in BC’s Best Small Town: Kimberley. It has an approximately 400 square feet space that is dedicated to regularly changing (solo) art exhibitions.

During the first round of judging, after looking at digital images of all submissions, adjudicators Barbara Maye, Grant Smith, and Irma de Visser selected 25 artworks to be displayed in the art gallery.

Adjudicator Grant Smith is a visual artist living in Kimberley, BC. Although Grant has created drawings, paintings, woodblock and linocut prints, sculptures and design illustrations, he works predominantly with watercolour and oil paints and landscapes and wildlife are favourite subjects.

Grant received a Fine Arts Diploma, BFA, BEd; taught Art at Kimberley's high school for 23 years; and is now retired.

Adjudicator Barbara Maye is a multimedia artist, sculptor, and art instructor based in Revelstoke, BC. Barbara has dedicated more than 20 years to creating art that invites contact, interaction, and introspection. Inspired deeply by Indigenous beliefs from around the globe, and the spiritual wisdom of healing energies both in our bodies and in entities of nature, her art acknowledges the origins; wood as tree, stone as mountain, and body as spirit.

Barbara graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction and studied with Chaka Chikodzi, a Zimbabwean Canadian master stone carver. As an art instructor, Barbara strives to make the language of art more attainable to everyone. Her teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that anyone, given a fresh perspective, can recapture their creative voice.

Adjudicator Irma de Visser has been using her creative voice in many ways throughout her life, but was never fully introduced to the world of Art until she left The Netherlands in 2013.

Shortly after moving to Kimberley, BC, Irma started working as administrative assistant at Kimberley Arts at Centre 64 - Kimberley's arts and cultural centre - where she discovered a passion for the arts, and more specifically for inspiring, empowering, and growing the local art community. This passion ignited and grew, pushing her to open her own art gallery when the opportunity presented itself in 2021. Recently, Irma has started dipping her toes into the exciting world of ceramics.

The 25 artworks selected by these adjudicators will be on display and for sale in the art gallery and online. In addition, all submitted artworks will be on display online at for the duration of the exhibition which starts on Wednesday, February 1st and ends on Sunday, February 25th. According to Irma, “It is going to be a really good show!”.

When Irma started thinking about organising this exhibition, she knew she wanted to do things a little differently. One of the cons of juried exhibitions is the fact that adjudicators’ choices are subjective. Jurors have limitations: they don’t know the background and intention of the artists, and it is hard to compare artworks that are sometimes vastly different. The chosen artworks are always a reflection of the adjudicators. For the artists, entering a juried exhibition can be an emotional rollercoaster.

In order to make the selection process more rewarding and positive for everyone involved, the following idea of broader encouragement was created. The adjudicators will look at the selected 25 artworks in the gallery and choose 10 artworks to appear on a shortlist. Finally, a random draw will determine which of the shortlisted artworks will receive the Kootenay (Ktunaxa*) Art Prize. Furthermore, all artworks that weren’t shortlisted will have a chance to win the Inspiration Award which will also be chosen by draw. As Irma puts it “Every artwork will have a chance to be recognized and awarded!”. Both drawings will take place during the exhibition opening reception on Friday, February 10th.

*Art Gallery Kimberley acknowledges that Kimberley (k̓ukamaʔnam) is within Ktunaxa ?amak?is, the traditional homelands of the Ktunaxa Nation.

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