Celebrating Creativity

By Bobbie Jo Reid

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Much can be said about British Columbia and her artists. Whether they toil in paint, sculpture, photography, performing arts, music or word play, these artists share one thing in common – a creativity that thrives in the natural allure of our province.

Arts and entertainment in BC has a unique flavour that is distinctly Canadian. In fact, the artists' creativity we marvel at helps shape our national identity.

Senior artists, in particular, are prolific here. Some have spent a lifetime perfecting their work, while others take to the canvas, the stage or the page later in life. Time and freedom from the responsibilities of career and family have allowed many to explore the creativity they say bubbled beneath the surface since childhood. And it's a passion supported and encouraged by arts and entertainment outlets eager to share their voice.

“As part of our mandate, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria feels it is important to acknowledge the careers and contributions of senior artists in the community,” says Nicole Stanbridge, Associate Curator, Comtemporary Art. “We recently featured a retrospective of local artist James Gordaneer, who has been painting for six decades and has spent the last 30 of those [years] as a significant and inspiring member of Victoria’s art community.”

Senior Living magazine has had the privilege of interviewing artists and entertainers working in every conceivable medium. Whether born and raised here, or transplants from other parts of the country or world, artists and performers flourish in our cities and remote islands.

Over the years, we have chatted with fine artists like Norman Yates, Jim Wispinski, Margaret Hallett and Ted Harrison; writers Ann Kelly, Naomi Beth Wakan, Stanley Evans, Betty Gordon Funke and Arthur Black; musicians Allan Singleton-Wood, Catherine Young, George Essihos and Winifred Scott Wood; and groups like the Oak Bay Orchestra, the Pension-aires Barbershop Quartet, City of Gardens Sweet Adelines and the Victoria Broadway Chorus.

And year after year, new senior artists emerge and take to the spotlight, despite challenging economic times and the provincial, federal and global issues that threaten to command more attention.

"The province of British Columbia has been supportive of all sorts of different initiatives by artists of all ages for many years," says Christopher Gaze, Artistic Director/Founder of Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. "The support has grown and nurtured many artists that have requested arts council assistance – but over the past while as deficit budgeting has dragged us down, arts and culture have had to take it on the chin. These are difficult times for the arts, and I suspect senior artists are looking for other ways to augment their incomes – but we will survive. We will be creative! The economy will recover! Let us entertain you as we wait for better times – this is the way of the artist."

BC's artists have delighted and entertained thousands. They let us peek into their lives by sharing their stories and add colour to the pages of our magazine. And as long as they continue to explore and express the talents that make them unique, we will continue to celebrate them.


‘The wonderful thing about making art is there’s no retirement date.’ -Norman Yates



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