Sandra Holmes’s fabric creations will be featured in the window of Imagine That! in downtown Duncan this month. (Submitted)

Sandra Holmes’s fabric creations will be featured in the window of Imagine That! in downtown Duncan this month. (Submitted)

A&E column: Art is everywhere in the Cowichan Valley

What’s going in the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

The Cowichan Valley Arts Council is inviting people to discover drawing with new courses.

“If you think coloured pencils are only for schoolchildren, take another look,” CVAC says. “Portable and inexpensive, coloured pencils can produce astounding results, satisfying for beginners looking for a new hobby.”

Five new drawing courses will run from May through August with award winning Salt Spring Island artist Jeannette Sirois.

You can learn to draw everything from pets to bird and flowers as well as techniques for depicting glass and three-dimensional objects.

Basic Intro to Coloured Pencil runs May 11 and 18 and is a six-hour workshop. Glass Vase and Botanical runs from May 22-29 and June 5-12. Basic Studies in Graphite: Understanding Form, Value and Realism runs June 1, 8 and 15. Drawing Pets with Colour Pencils runs June 19-26 and July 3-10. Birds of the Watershed runs Aug. 15 and 16.

For more information, check out


Also on the Cowichan Valley Arts Council agenda is a series of online talks for residents to learn more about the Cowichan watershed.

“These science and natural history online sessions are intended to raise awareness and inspire artists and citizen groups interested in creating something for the Watershed Art Show, which will be held Aug. 27 to Sept. 25 at the council’s large gallery in the Cowichan Community Centre,” CVAC says.

The inspiration for the show and programs will be the seven aspirational targets set by the Cowichan Watershed Board.

A link to the meetings can be found on the CVAC website under What’s On.

“Our goal is to use an experiential, artistic approach to raising awareness in the Cowichan community about the value of managing our watersheds wisely,” said CVAC President Janet Magdanz.

“Art is a great way to help people experience nature.”

The first session by Rodger Hunter and Tom Rutherford will be held on May 4, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the topic of water quality and estuary health.

The second session on riparian health by Heather Pritchard and Elodie Roger will be held on May 11, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The third session on water conservation by David Slade and Jill Thompson will be held on May 18, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Online now at the Cowichan Public Art Gallery, in collaboration with the Sierra Club of BC, find a virtual exhibition by youth artists.

Thirty-two Cowichan Valley students, ages 10 to 19, are taking part.

The exhibition is titled “Forest: Breath of Life”, and it runs until May 31. It explores “the multi-faceted nature of forests: as home to a vast number of flora and fauna; as a source of beauty, healing and solace to humans; as a source to be harvested; as an ecosystem under threat; and as a source of every breath we take.”

Pieces include watercolour on paper, acrylic on canvas, drawings, woodblock sculpture, digital art, original song composition and spoken word videos.

Check it out:


The online Plantaholics plant sale was a huge success.

According to Elaine Scott of the Plantaholics, the event raised $8,400 in total, allowing the group to write two separate $4,200 cheques to their chosen charities.

“That is far more than we normally make and provides an indication on how much more time folks are spending in their gardens due to COVID,” said Scott, who also thanked the Citizen for getting the word out.


“I am now returning to singing, song, teaching and other offerings,” announced Cowichan Valley musician and teacher Cari Burdett in a recent email.

Her biggest new venture is a six-week course titled “Backyard Sessions: Ceremonial Practices, Song, Poetry, Nature Connection, which runs from May 16 to June 20 on Sundays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Burdett will be joined in teaching the course by Mark Tollefson.

What’s it all about?

“We will offer you exercises, poems, songs and practices for creating your own sacred altars and support you in developing your own daily/weekly ceremonies that can deepen your listening, find nourishment from life, and help sustain and support your journey,” Burdett says on her website. “There are inherent laws embedded in nature. Ones that we follow even if we are unaware that we are. Each of the laws of nature has ceremonies and rituals attached to it. When we listen we can begin the process of learning how to hear those ceremonies that are inherent in the land that surrounds us.”

Register for the course and find out more about it here:

Before that course starts, you can check out Burdett’s pay-what-you-can Bella Mamma Singing Workshop on Thursday, May 6 from 7:30-8:30 p.m., to learn songs in celebration of Mother’s Day.

Get a mini sample of the Backyard Sessions with a Q and A with Burdett and Tollefson on Thursday, May 13, 7:30-8:30 p.m.


The Duncan Christian Science Society is sponsoring a lecture online.

It will feature Fujiko Signs, speaking from Japan, on “God’s-eye View of You!”

The lecture is free and takes place on Thursday, May 20, starting at 7:30 p.m. at


Imagine That! in downtown Duncan is featuring a variety of artists in their window displays through May 28.

In the Board Member Showcase window, Imagine That! salutes their five leaders, Sandra Greenaway, Joyce Leroux, Carolyn Morris, Margot Page and Veronica Scott.

In the other window, cheque out Sandra Holmes’s “Beautiful Fabrics”.

“There seems no limit to the variety of garments and accessories created by Sandra Holmes. She uses a fantastic array of fabrics and embellishments to bring her pieces to life. From jackets and scarves, to purses and tote bags, to serviettes, placemats, and table runners — you will find something special in her collection.”

Arts and EntertainmentColumn