Salt Spring Island artists enjoy stellar reputation

The infusion of art into daily life is immediately evident on Salt Spring Island: coffee shops and financial institutions double as gallery space, while fine musicians from all genres perform at intimate local venues, community halls and the arts centre called ArtSpring in Ganges.

Helen Mears, who owns Pod Contemporary Gallery in Ganges, says, “The art scene on Salt Spring is flourishing, bringing vitality to the whole community. The island is bustling with exhibitions in galleries, studios, barns, co-ops, our historic community hall and library. Contemporary art and craft, sculpture, photography and mixed media are all represented in a wide range of venues for people’s enjoyment. It’s one of the most artisanal places in Canada.”

One of numerous people making that the case is Razali Wahab, the world-travelling engineer who owns the two-story Gallery 8 in Grace Point Square. During his first visit to Salt Spring Island he was struck by the high calibre of artistic endeavour evident on the island. 

“I knew the moment I stepped ashore on Salt Spring that a gallery undertaking would be the perfect combination of my interests and talents for me,” says Wahab. His direction was then set, from San Diego to Salt Spring and Gallery 8, which has more than 3,000 square feet of display space for its 35 to 40 Gulf Islands artists producing the highest quality of work in several media.

Special events like the annual Easter Art Tour — which ran for the tenth time in 2016 — are another great way to enjoy a full artistic immersion.

Last fall saw the first juried Salt Spring National Arts Prize event take place to wild acclaim, and planning for the 2017 version is well underway by the sponsoring Salt Spring Arts Council. In a similar vein, the fall of 2016 will see the first Salt Spring Island Ceramics Award event put on by the island’s potters’ guild. As well, artists in residence activities are blooming.

While visiting Salt Spring the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper’s What’s On calendar provides a weekly listing of events and exhibitions by Salt Spring artists.