The Gibsons Public Art Gallery is hosting The Sunshine Coast Pavilion until July 30, an historical and cultural overview of the Coast as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations. After many months of work, Stewart Stinson, President of the gallery board, is pleased to have the exhibition open. “We were able to bring new participants to the gallery,” says Stinson. “As well as strengthen our relationship with the [Sunshine Coast] Museum.” The exhibition is “an expo inspired Canada 150 pavilion about the Sunshine Coast.” Arts and culture groups are well represented, with exhibits from The Kube Studios, The Arts Building, and Deer Crossing The Art Farm, to name just three. There are exhibits from the Skwxwú7mesh and shíshálh Nations, including a video from Skwomesh Language Academy that breaks down the word Skwxwú7mesh and how to pronounce it properly.
There are several exhibits about the early years of settlers on the Coast, along with the logging and fishing industries, something many locals will know something about. But there’s also information on early farming, including strawberry fields in Elphinstone and Soames Point. There’s a video interview with Lenora Inglis, one of the founders of the Sunshine Coast Credit Union, explaining how the credit union got its start in 1941 as a way of investing in local people and businesses, giving them opportunities when no one else would. Fittingly, the credit union is one of the exhibit’s sponsors. There’s also a tribute to Eve Smart, the early gallery patron who bequeathed funds to the gallery, allowing it to move to its current location. The gallery has since done an excellent job of turning the space into an unofficial community centre for arts and culture events in Gibsons. This exhibition not only pays homage to its benefactor, but the whole Coast community.
The Pavilion has a second legacy component, currently in development, that will see the gallery undergo an exterior facelift with the installation of a permanent piece of Skwxwú7mesh Nation art on the outside of the building. Skwxwú7mesh Nation artist Jody Broomfield is currently working on designs and Stinson looks forward to sharing this exciting new piece of public art with the community as work begins this summer. “I’m expecting designs any day now,” he says. The gallery is presenting this work through a new Canada 150 partnership with the BC Museums Association.
The exhibition runs at The Gibsons Public Art Gallery until July 30 and will be open seven days a week from 11am-4pm. Admission is free.