Robert Taylor and Janet Morningstar show off their garage prior to this year's House Tour fundraiser for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Behind the couple is a painting of their home by artist Robert Amos who will also act as artist in residence for the day.

Welcome home to art gallery tour

Art lovers open their homes, host artists in annual fundraiser

Robert Taylor loves his home, his community and his art collection. Next weekend the three will converge like never before, when the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s House Tour 2014 stops by his St. Patrick Street residence.

Taylor and his partner Janis Morningside are among three Oak Bay homeowners on the tour Sept. 7, the largest annual fundraiser for gallery, aimed at raising $30,000 for the organization. The couple, who moved to the home two years ago from West Vancouver, had been collecting West Coast art for some time before attending last year’s tour. When organizers approached them to participate in the tour following the event, the decision to open their doors to curious art lovers was an easy one to make.

“Hundreds of people join the art tour and they’re all interesting people,” said Taylor. “The reason why we felt comfortable offering our home is that we saw how well managed the tour was, how professionally the volunteers conducted the tour, but also, the sort of people who are prepared to pay money and go on this sort of tour are sensitive. They’re the sort of guests you’d want in your house.”

Taylor is mildly self-conscious that his willingness to share his home and art may come off a little vain, but his enthusiasm for his 1922 Arts and Crafts, Tudor revival home, and garden – itself designed by local artist Brian Travers-Smith and once featured in Better Homes and Gardens and the Oak Bay Garden Tour – far outweighed any trepidation. Travers-Smith’s work adorns their walls, as well as that of Robert Amos, who will be on site painting during the event.

Each house on this year’s tour hosts a local artist, an element organizers were pleased to include as a means of strengthening the tour’s connection to art. Deborah Tilby, Desiree Bond, Bev Petow, Brian Simons and Richard Hunt also join the tour.

“Part of the emphasis this year, is to try and make it very obvious that this is an art gallery event, so all of the houses have a lot of art in them,” said tour co-organizer Scott Vannan, noting the Central Avenue house where Hunt will carve is furnished with works from the gallery’s art rental program.

Each house, Vannan said, reflects the personal stories of their owners.

The other Oak Bay stop, overlooking the Chinese Cemetery and hosting Simons, is a home full of colourful, vibrant paintings from the owner’s lifelong collection. The tour includes a home in Esquimalt. The art that fills their home is their own, save for on Sept. 7 when unique sculptural pieces, metal dresses crafted by Petow, who will work from the home, add to the visual appeal. Tilby and Bond set up at Donnington Place, Eric Charman’s large estate, built in the style of an English farmhouse. Charman’s home showcases a more formal form of collecting than the others.

“I don’t want a tour where people go and have a good time and leave not really knowing what it was about,” Vannan said.

Back on St. Patrick Street, art remains the focus of the 61-year-old fundraiser, but one enthusiastic Oak Bay resident certainly won’t shy away from a broader discussion about his home, now being designated heritage. For Taylor, the event seems to encompass a range of elements beneath this year’s tour theme, The Art of Living Beautifully: art, design, history and community.

“(The home) is a good example of the building boom of the early ‘20s after the war, the increase of professional people living in Oak Bay and commuting to downtown Victoria via streetcar. It’s a small piece of Oak Bay history in itself,” Taylor said.

“What we especially enjoy about living in Oak Bay,” he added, “is the sense of community, and of course, that only exists if people are prepared to contribute.”

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s House Tour 2014 fundraiser runs from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sept. 7. Tickets are $35, on sale now through until Sept. 7, online or in person at the gallery (1040 Moss St.), at all of the Victoria GardenWorks locations, and all Brown’s the Florist locations. Each ticket to the event includes a tour of three homes in Oak Bay, and one each in Esquimalt and the Saanich Peninsula, as well as a coupon for two free gallery admissions.

Just Posted

Third time’s not a charm for Oak Bay thief

Police briefs: Repeat thefts, stolen scooter, walking sticks misplaced

Lawyer for Victoria homeless camp questions offer by Saanich Police

John Heaney says breaking up camp puts people at risk because it seperates them from support

Former employee at B.C.’s oldest bakery says staff got no notice of closure

Willie’s Bakery staffer didn’t receive any severance

Elderly man in hospital after struck by car in Oak Bay

The incident happened Monday evening on Cadboro Bay Road

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps calls for audit on Johnson Street Bridge project

The bridge took three years and $40 million more than initially expected

Musicians take note at Victoria music industry conference

Rifflandia Gathering brings together emerging artists and industry professionals

Public to comment on Nigel Valley development in Saanich

Saanich residents will have their say today about a new housing development… Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Ban on plastic bags reflects new reality

The plastic bag ban Victoria introduced in July of this year is… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Cyclists finish North America trip to highlight Ukraine struggle

The 10,000 bike ride raised over $10,000 for victims of the war in Ukraine.

21 new paramedics promised for B.C. Interior

A total of 18 new full-time paramedics will be hired for Kamloops and three are being hired for Chase.

Federal stats show slight increase in irregular migrant claims in August

113 extra people tried to cross the Canadian border last month

Work begins to remove cargo from grounded Haida Gwaii barge and fishing lodge

Westcoast Resorts’ Hippa Lodge broke from its moorings and ran aground early this month

Most Read