Jock Hildebrandt has been appearing at various council meetings, urging local politicians to back the Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery project. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Lexi Bainas Column: Comic book expo, Oktobeerfest, Ice Bear exhibit, and more

And, of course, a bit for my opera-loving diehards

Cowichan Valley Comic Book Expo, a pop culture extravaganza, is scheduled for Sunday Oct. 6 at Duncan Eagles hall.

Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to the Cowichan branch of the BC SPCA.

Presented by Dingbat Comics, you can expect to find comics, collectibles and more from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2965 Boys Rd. Organizers say there will be door prizes and food trucks on site as well.

***

Youbou Community Association Oktobeerfest 2019 features The Rivals at Youbou Hall on Saturday, Oct. 19. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 each. A free shuttle service is available but there’s limited seating so book early.

Tickets are available from the Youbou Community Association council members and from the Youbou Bar & Grill, Shop & Save, Daly’s Auto Centre, Cassy’s Coffee House, Scarlett’s Second Hand Boutique, and at the Visitors Centre in Lake Cowichan.

***

I see that Excellent Frameworks has scheduled an Artist’s Presentation by Ice Bear on Saturday, Oct. 5 from noon to 2 p.m. They’ll be featuring his most recent sculpture.

Ice Bear’s aboriginal culture underpins his art, but not in a particularly traditional way. He uses his background abstractly to help open doors for anyone seeing his work.

***

Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery group president Jock Hildebrand, after a round of meeting the politicians at various Valley councils, is joining other local enthusiasts at a gala project launch Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. at Blue Grouse winery in Cowichan Station. The group is aiming to build and open a public art gallery in the Cowichan Valley.

The event will include a sculpture exhibit, major donor recognition, wine and hors d’oeuvres.

The idea of a gallery already has support from publicly funded arts councils, MP Alistair McGregor, MLA Sonia Furstenau and others. Jean Crowder, our former MP, is honorary chairperson of CVPAG. CVPAG members number about 150 and rising.

Mr. Hildebrand points out that arts based tourism based on a world-class art gallery in Cowichan Valley will also benefit other galleries on the island as well as local businesses such as hotels, stores, restaurants and bars, generating local jobs.

“This project will become a cornerstone for the Vancouver Island cultural community. As well as providing visual arts that otherwise may not be accessible to Island residents, the $35 million building will become a major economic driver in these days of diminishing resource-based economies. With seven dollars return for every dollar spent, the community will benefit in all ways.”

The Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery (formal name is pending) will measure between 25,000 and 35,000 square feet and will host local, national and international art: from painting to sculpture to other visual mediums. The gallery will also offer arts education and awareness programs, promoting the Valley as home to one of Canada’s highest concentrations of artists per capita.

CVPAG board members are researching funding as well as looking at potential sites and gallery design. They are examining how similar galleries in other cities are operating based on community support, grants from government and private donors, and fundraising.

For more information, contact info@cvpublicartgallery.ca or call 250-215-2823.

***

A show entitled Current Threads has taken over the CVAC Arbutus Gallery (located in the Cowichan Community Centre) until Oct. 24.

Before the 1960s and early 70s, there were quilts created by many circles of women, who produced traditional designs as practical bed covers for warmth and comfort.

But, in 1971, the first exhibition was held in New York, where quilts were added to the contemporary art scene. Now, 50 years later, “there is much to compare and explore between the original bed quilt and today’s expanded fibre art genre,” according to a note from textile artist Lesley Comassar, of the Vancouver Island Surface Design Association (VISDA).

In addition to the traditional styles, “new and previously unimagined techniques have been added and embraced by the contemporary fibre artist. With the use of computer assisted design, manipulation with fusion, embellishment, painting, dyeing, weaving — the tool box has grown extensively, as have the surfaces and techniques,” she said.

This show also includes work by felting and papermaking artists.

An opening reception will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Oct. 8. Members of the VISDA will be present at the opening, and will span the show, to discuss and answer questions to enhance visitor experiences. The gallery hours of 11 a.m.–5 p.m. will include the weekends.

***

And lastly, for my opera loving cohort, don’t forget that Turandot is on the big screen Oct. 12 at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. This Puccini opera, which contains the gorgeous arias, ‘Nessun Dorma’ and ‘In Questa Reggia’, used to be ignored because it was super-tough to sing.

However, it was revived in 1961 because the Met thought that Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson had the chops for the lead role.

Did she? Well, the opera is well known today, which speaks for how well she blew the roof off the building.

And they lined up renowned tenor Franco Corelli as the male lead for a one-two punch that is still talked about to this day. He’s famous for holding his high notes so long that one conductor took out his watch and began to wind it during a performance.

Singers out there: just imagine the Met taking a chance and mounting an entire new production of a fiercely difficult work that had lain gathering dust in the archives for 30 years, based only on your voice and stage presence.

#respect!

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’Lavender on a Sunny Day’ shows the unusual textile art on display at the ‘Current Threads’ show. (Submitted)

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