Oak Bay Art Club brings community focus to the arts

The Oak Bay Art Club is celebrating more than 70 years in the community

Oak Bay Art Club members Fred Alcock and Janet Mercer hang an exhibition of members’ work in the Oak Bay News office at Athlone Court. Learn more about the 71-year-old club on page A7.

Oak Bay Art Club members Fred Alcock and Janet Mercer hang an exhibition of members’ work in the Oak Bay News office at Athlone Court. Learn more about the 71-year-old club on page A7.

For more than 70 years the Oak Bay Art Club has drawn people together for a common purpose: a love of exploring and producing art.

Welcoming everyone from those brand new to the arts to professional artists who have been exploring their favourite themes for years, club members bring a true sense of community to this community organization.

What makes the Oak Bay Art Club unique?

“It’s the people,” says Janet Mercer, director of shows and exhibits. “The people are so friendly and so warm and welcoming – it’s just a great place go and do art.”

Celebrating 71 years, the Oak Bay Art Club actually welcomes people from all over the region, and of all different ages, skillsets and experience levels, notes Marsha Ross, Oak Bay Art Club president.

“Our members range from very experienced artists with affiliations to many art groups, including the Art Federation of Canada, to members just beginning their journey for artistic expression,” Ross says. “This is a friendly and art-inspiring club. Through educational and interactive presentations we all have a chance to be inspired to try new techniques, improve on our present artistic expression and benefit from seeing the work of fellow members.”

Whether a beginner or a professional artist, the group offers support, instruction and a shared creativity; “the only criteria is that you’re interested in art,” says Mercer.

The club meets twice a month, except in the summer, and has an annual program of 11 demonstrations by professional artists plus two critique sessions during which well-known artists offer constructive suggestions regarding members’ artwork.

“You can be an absolute beginner and you’re going to see all the kinds of media and all different levels of expertise.”

The club also hosts four paint-ins a year at Windsor Pavilion that feature mentor artists, Mercer says. The gatherings provide an opportunity not only to garner feedback but also to be inspired by the collective creativity. “You have a hub of creativity. Working at home can be very lonely so working with a group can very positive and productive.”

At the same time, more experienced artists find their skills are reinforced, through the club sessions with professional mentors and the group “show and tell” gatherings, Ross notes.

The atmosphere is witnessed in the feedback from the various professional artists who have visited as mentors. “The feedback we’ve had is that they really like coming to our club. There’s a lot of interaction and curiosity on our part,” Ross says.

The Oak Bay Art Club’s 51 member artists work in a variety of media, from watercolours and oils to 3D and mixed media. Planning is under way for the annual show, which takes place in February.

For more information about the Oak Bay Art Club, visit online at www.oakbayartclub.com or call Janet Mercer at 250-595-0096.

Did you know?

The Oak Bay Art Club recently hung works by 12 different artists in the Oak Bay News office in Athlone Court.

With the plan of rotating the images every three months or so, the community gallery offers another opportunity to share the work of local artists. The works are for sale directly though the artists, and cards with identifying information are mounted with the paintings.