Four inducted into Oak Bay fine arts hall of fame

Oak Bay High Distinguished Fine Arts Alumni honoured at Feb. 17 celebration

Retired principal Dave Thomson

Retired principal Dave Thomson

A string quartet is among the performances set for the quartet induction into the Oak Bay High Distinguished Fine Arts Alumni this year.

“We’re looking for people who have made an impact in the arts themselves, as a teacher, as a builder or as a patron in the arts in Victoria or Oak Bay. We lean toward Oak Bay more than anything else,” said organizer Jeff Weaver, director of bands at Oak Bay High.

They look for contributors in every aspect of fine arts: – visual, music, dance, theatre and creative writing – as a way to showcase the excellence in fine arts education in the community, as well as continue support for the arts at Oak Bay High School.

The Feb. 17 event will include entertainment from the Oak Bay High School Fine Arts department and raffle tickets will be available for purchase to support the “keys to our success fundraiser” sponsored by the Oak Bay High Alumni Association and Oak Bay Rotary Foundation.

The four inductees this year are: professional artist Frank Lewis (posthumous); Bernie Shaw – lead singer of British band Uriah Heep; professional dancer Patricia Sparks Taylor and retired principal Dave Thomson.

A renowned muralist and painter, Lewis’ work adorns bridges, museums and many businesses throughout the southern Island, across Canada and even at the Canadian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Métis artist died March 6, 2013 at 81. The previous fall he unveiled his last public painting, Honour Creation, at the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s healing centre.

Lewis was born to a Cree father and Scottish mother in Winnipeg, but graduated from Oak Bay High in 1952.He earned a scholarship to Vancouver School of Art, now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

He embarked on a rich career in commercial art, winning awards as a graphic designer for magazines, books, CBC television and dozens of musical artists. Lewis designed and painted dozens of murals, including “Bridging” along the Galloping Goose Trail, “Time Steps” on the Luxe Building at 1114 Langley St. and the interior of Peacock Billiards. He was also a successful stage actor.

Lead singer of British rock band Uriah Heep since 1986, Shaw is an Oak Bay High grad of 1974 who has toured all over the world.

Patricia Sparks Taylor graduated in 1949 and went on to a dance career that included the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She also helped organize dance festivals for more than 30 years and started a scholarship in 1978, that continues today, in honour of her ballet master Wynne Shaw.

Thomson is the only honouree this year that Weaver worked with personally. The former principal retired earlier this year, and many attribute his work to creating the state-of-the-art school that includes incredible arts, dance and music studios as well as the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre.

“He made an outstanding and extraordinary contribution during his time here and promoted the arts,” Weaver said.

The four join distinguished fine arts alumni inducted in 2014 and 2015 during the Oak Bay High School Distinguished Fine Arts Alumni Induction Friday, Feb. 17 at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at 6:30 p.m.

The showcase to honour inductees includes performances from string quartet, choral, dance and a “trailer” for the senior musical production Legally Blond, on stage at Oak Bay High Feb. 24 to March 4.

Raffle tickets will be available to raise funds for the ongoing project to purchase a piano for the Dunnet theatre.

The public is invited to attend.



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