Artist Barbara Adams is Oak Bay's new Arts Laureate. Adams has been an art teacher and also paints and makes ceramics and jewelry.

Former teacher inaugural arts laureate

Barbara Adams chosen because of her devotion to art and her innovative ways of promoting art in the community.

Former Monterey school art teacher Barbara Adams has been named Oak Bay’s first arts laureate.

Adams, who taught at Monterey school for 10 years and, along with Kerry Liggins started Artistshow, the annual artist-in-residence program hosted in Victoria-area hotels every summer, will be Oak Bay’s arts and culture ambassador.

“It’s a historic moment,” said Mayor Nils Jensen, who was given council approval to handpick Adams. “This is the first time Oak Bay will have an arts laureate and it’s the first one in the (Capital Regional District).”

Jensen said he picked Adams because of her devotion to art and her innovative ways of promoting art in the community. Adams built Monterey’s art room and started an artist-in-the-school program. That program became self-funded and a money maker for the art department after its first year, thanks to the annual art auction and evening of entertainment which followed each artist-in-residence’s tenure. When she retired, she left the art department with $25,000 in the bank.

“I am looking forward to great things from Ms. Adams,” Jensen added. “Pardon the pun, but she will be working with a fresh canvas.”

Adams wants to make Oak Bay an art destination, a place where tourists and locals can enjoy public art, which doesn’t exist right now.

“Oak Bay has zero public art except for one somewhere at the rec centre somewhere,” Adams said. “My vision is to enhance the profile of art in Oak Bay. Make it important for visitors, artists in Oak Bay and the people in Oak Bay to enjoy.”

Adams’ background is in visual art but she also envisions musicians performing and artists creating in a park where people can relax and enjoy the ambiance.

“Oak Bay has this tweed curtain, which is not totally bad,” Adams said. “Tweed as we know it as a fabric is warm and I want to make the curtain more hospitable, more esthetically pleasing.”

Adams worked with children for 37 years. Originally from Alberta, she moved to Victoria to attend school at UVic where she did a double major in political science and sociology –something she never intended to do when she arrived.

“I stood in line for fine arts, as I wanted to get into fashion design,” Adams said. “I got to the window and they asked me ‘where is your portfolio?’ and I was like, ‘what portfolio?’ I then got into the next line. I knew some people who were interested in political science (so I enrolled in that).”

A masters degree in education at UBC followed and she ran an art program in Vancouver’s Eastside for five years before moving back to Victoria.

Adams is also a silversmith, making jewelry, which she sells at the Avenue Gallery. She started silversmithing 10 years ago as a hobby.

“I couldn’t find any jewelry that I liked,” Adams said with a laugh. “I do original and non-traditional pieces of jewelry.”

According to the District of Oak Bay’s arts laureate terms of reference, the arts laureate position expires December 31 of the year in which there is a general local election. Adams’ tenure will be an abbreviated one as there will be a municipal election in November 2014.

Adams will have a $7,500 budget, which is provided equally by the municipality, Oak Bay Tourism and Oak Bay Business Improvement Association.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay neighbourhoods rocked by blasting activity

Oak Bay seeks new rock blasting bylaw regarding ‘continuous’ noise

20-storey hotel proposed for downtown Victoria

Wintergarden Hotel proposed for block of Blanshard Street between Fort and View streets

VIDEO: Seal pup and mom play and ‘kiss’ in Oak Bay Marina

BRNKL seal cam captures harbour seal growing up in busy harbour

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Police investigating alleged assault on Oak Bay Avenue

Staff at Oak Bay Home Hardware say one person was taken to hospital

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read