IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE to rock your style, get a little fancy, drink some good wine, and enjoy the company of some of Victoria’s most exciting and respected visual artists, plan to attend the Victoria Visual Arts Legacy Society (VVALS)’s annual awards event.
Mary-ellen Threadkell, vice president of VVALS, says it’s an annual celebration of both the legacy artists that make up Victoria’s past and present landscape, and those five hand-picked art students who are emerging as community-builders and exceptional artists at five local colleges. VVALS awards a $1000 bursary each year to one student of Camosun College, UVic Arts in Education, UVic Fine Arts, Victoria College of Art, and Vancouver Island School of Art.
“In most cases, when a student receives a bursary, they get a cheque in the mail and a nice letter,” Threadkell says. “This event is pretty extraordinary, because the student is meeting the legacy artists, fêted at a very elegant affair hosted at the Legacy Art Gallery… with blow-your-socks-off, fabulous food.”
In addition to the elegant buffet of hors d’ouvres and good wines, there’s also an open bar. This year’s gala event is on Tuesday, April 7 and begins at 6:30 pm.
There’s only one way to be among the 85 lucky guests: support the legacy program by helping with the student awards. “People can get an invitation to the event by donating to VVALS at a level beginning at $100,” says Threadkell. The long-term goal is to raise the bursary funding up to a higher level, since $1000 doesn’t go quite as far as it used to—especially in Victoria.
Local legacy artists are those “who have reached international stature,” and each bursary recipient is matched with a legacy artist in their medium, says Threadkell. These include both living artists like Carole Sabiston and Pat Martin Bates (current president of VVALS), and those who have passed, such as Richard Ciccimarra, Karl Spreitz, James Gordaneer, Elza Mayhew, and others. Sabiston is a fibre artist and a new addition to the list who will be present at the April event.
“This year we are thrilled because Senator Patricia Bovey will be giving the keynote address,” Threadkell adds. “She’s written wonderful books on Carole Sabiston and Pat Martin Bates, and is writing another book about western Canadian women artists. She’s coming to talk to the audience about what she’s doing as a senator for the arts in Canada.”
Tickets are available through VVALS fund at the Victoria Foundation, or online at canadahelps.org. VVALS is a certified not-for-profit organization; www.victoriavisualartslegacy.ca—MK