Island Savings sponsorship to Cowichan Public Art Gallery

Island Savings sponsorship to Cowichan Public Art Gallery

left to right: Elizabeth Croft, Kendall Gross, Jock Hildebrand


Island Savings announces $10,000 sponsorship to Cowichan Public Art Gallery

The Cowichan Public Art Gallery Society (CPAG) is excited to announce a $10,000 sponsorship agreement with Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union. The sponsorship supports the development of a world-class gallery in the Cowichan Valley. The President of Island Savings, Kendall Gross made the official presentation to Jock Hildebrand, President of the CPAG and Director Elizabeth Croft.

“Arts and culture are such an integral element in helping our communities thrive, and we are thrilled
to be able to make this significant investment in the Cowichan Valley through the support of our members. We believe that the construction and establishment of a public art gallery will be a significant economic force in the area and a driving force for local businesses and the economy.”

– Kendall Gross, President, Island Savings.

left: Jock Hildebrand, President of CPAG – right: Kendall Gross, President of Island Savings

Jock Hildebrand, thanked Mr. Gross and Island Savings for their generous support for the Island community, noting that Island Savings is a long-time gallery supporter, with sponsorships dating back to 2019; Island Savings has helped CPAG to deliver some of Cowichan’s most successful art exhibitions.

We’re proud that we share similar values with Island Savings in
serving our communities. The future gallery will be a focal point for the art community, businesses and families. Island Savings’ generous sponsorship brings us closer to making the gallery a reality”.

– Jock Hildebrand


About the Cowichan Public Art Gallery (CPAG)

Founded in 2017, CPAG is working to build a world-class art gallery in Cowichan. Once completed, the Gallery will welcome exhibitions from British Columbia, Canada and the world — including engagement and educational events for the public. In the meantime, CPAG has an annual exhibition program enhancing and expanding arts and cultural opportunities for everyone. More than 400 individuals have signed our petition in favour of the project and it enjoys support from all levels of government. CPAG is a registered charity.


About Island Savings

Island Savings is a premier provider of banking and investment services for residents and businesses throughout Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands. As a division of First West Credit Union, BC’s third-largest credit union with 46 branches throughout the province, Island Savings brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Island Savings, visit

135 Kenneth Street lot option

135 Kenneth Street lot option


You helped make it happen! Thank you!

The City of Duncan Mayor and Council voted unanimously on February 22 to extend an option to CPAG to purchase 135 Kenneth Street. Here’s the motion that was passed:

“That Council direct staff to maintain the current gravel parking lot use of the 135 Kenneth Street lot and negotiate a purchase option with the Cowichan Public Art Gallery Society for future purchase of the property at an appraised value at the time the option is exercised and including registration of a pedestrian Right of Way.”

This means the lot is “reserved” for CPAG, giving us time to raise the estimated $35 million to create an international-calibre art gallery. There is no cost to taxpayers & the lot will continue to provide parking for the foreseeable future.

click on the map below to see a larger version

click on the image below to see a larger version (street view: May 2018…not much different today)


What happens now?

Fundraise. Fundraise. Fundraise. Won’t it be a great thing to see $35 million spent in our community? We’re working with our Project Champions, advocating for capital investment. Our Gallery Champions are: MP Alistair MacGregor, MLA Sonia Furstenau & MLA Doug Routley.

We’re launching our first public fundraising campaign in the next few weeks. We so appreciate the generous support from our community – cash, sponsorship, in-kind & advocacy. That’s what made it possible for CPAG to reach this milestone & reserve a location for what will be the largest art gallery on Vancouver Island.

Of course, no need to wait for the campaign, you can DONATE NOW. CPAG is a registered charity, contributions are tax deductible.


What’s the next big thing?

CPAG is developing an intimate art gallery in the Green Door Heritage Building in Downtown Duncan. And we’ll continue our annual exhibition series – Watch for news, dates & times for the IceBear Exhibition coming next!!

Want to know more?  Click on the image below to see our latest Cowichan Gallery promo video

New member: Robert Paul

New member: Robert Paul


photo: Heidi and Robert Paul with their dog Baxter.

Who wants a Public Art Gallery in the Cowichan Valley?

I do!

Hi, my name is Robert Paul. I support the building of a public art gallery for many reasons, but mostly for its positive influence for young people.

My family and I just moved to Duncan from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  On my first visit to the Saturday Farmers’ Market in Duncan I met Jock Hildebrand.   Jock told me about the Art Gallery project and I volunteered to help on the spot.  As a retired school Principal, I have had an interest in art and arts education for many years.

I have seen firsthand how the arts can make a real difference in a student’s school experience.

I recall taking school groups to the Public Art Gallery in Saskatoon Saskatchewan.  The Mendel Gallery exposed people to all kinds of art, from traditional to modern from local to international and sculpture to wax crayons.  It was a wonderful place to visit, see the exhibits, participate in gallery activities and relax in the botanical garden attached to the gallery.   We would use the relaxed atmosphere to talk about the artistry and the experience.  Consider that people tend to remember more specific lessons from art related classes than from any other classes in their school experience.

I have run into ex-students who ask if I remember the time we painted hallways murals or made sculptures from re-cycled paper, or traveled for a gallery visit.

I believe that is because art speaks to us on so many cognitive and emotional levels.  I know that access to the arts can keep many students in school.

Therefore, I support this awesome endeavour.  As the new Media Relations person for the project, I look forward to engaging with all of our members and the public in general as we build a gallery and meeting place for young and old in our community.

Thank you.

Robert Paul
CPAG Media Liason



135 Kenneth Street lot option

CPAG goes to Market

The Green Door Society and the Cowichan Public Art Gallery Society have now amalgamated to pursue their common dream of a purpose-built public art gallery serving Cowichan Valley residents, the Island and all who visit here.

A portion of the historic Green Door building will serve as our first physical gallery, with exciting exhibitions already being considered. The new society expects the gallery to have a strong impact on the community through exhibitions of local, Canadian and international art, adding to the cultural richness of the valley and making a valuable economic contribution as it attracts visitors from around the world.

CPAG’s Jock and Carmen Hildebrand attended the Duncan Farmer’s Market on a glorious sunny day (Sat. Aug. 28/2021) and chatted with vendors and members of the public to raise awareness of our project.

photos by Dorian Melton

More Farmers’ Market fun!
Hallowe’en Farmers’ Market

The Art of the War on Germs

The Art of the War on Germs

The Art of the War on germs

by Cyndie Lack, (BFA, MAC)

Readers of this blog are already convinced by the emotive power of visual art. While CVPAG is dedicated to bringing a gallery facility to the island, we support public art in any environment. In light of the pandemic, it is timely to consider the solace art may bring to those in the institutional setting of a hospital. In this article I will also comment on the possible impact of infection control measures on hospital art collections.

As a volunteer for the CDHF (Cowichan and District Hospital Foundation), I undertook an inventory of art and related objects on display at CDH 2017-2019. The objects vary widely in quality and type and include: paintings, drawings, prints, calligraphy, photographs, plaques and display panels, stained glass, needlework, mixed media, reproductions, 3-D objects and relief panels. There is no curation, in fact there is no acknowledged collection per se; the hospital walls and corridors have been gradually populated, and many works are commemorative donations.

(click on the images above to open in a new window)

The striking clay and mosaic relief sculpture opposite the hospital chapel was my personal inspiration for the inventory project. To mark CDH’s 60th anniversary, “Earth, Sea, and Sky” (1992) [above, left] was created by students of Cowichan Secondary School under the guidance of local artist-instructor Lynda Faulks and her colleague Craig Campbell. The rich and complex surfaces of plant and animal forms evoke fossils magically sprung to life. Glenn Spicer’s mastery of stained glass [above, right] is evident in several dazzling installations in the Chapel and main corridor. I was also motivated by my previous work treating art in hospital collections, and a firsthand look at the pacific northwest contemporary art collection at the University of Washington Medical Center.

While conducting the CDH inventory, captured in spreadsheet data and photographic documentation, staff and visitors often stopped to chat about their favourite artwork and its personal significance. The expectation of being able to repeatedly “visit” these works was reported. Even before the pandemic, however, infection control measures were being introduced restricting displayed images to those behind glass in metal picture frames. This dramatically limits the size and type of visual art that could be shown in the new hospital facility.

None of my hospital art administrator contacts report the same narrow-minded measures. When one considers the number of unscreened visitors normally entering a hospital, not to mention the preponderance of materials unable to withstand ship deck swabbing, why target art? Coronavirus, for example, survives longer on most metallic surfaces than more porous surfaces. While I have no expertise in medical matters, I question the efficacy of the proposed restrictions, and wonder if this is yet another bureaucratic measure serving appearance more than reality.

Contemporary art has reached new heights of diversity in scale, subject matter and form. Exciting possibilities for hospital settings include installations utilizing light, sound, kinetics, and video. Art installed out of reach of passersby and/or composed of highly durable, architectural materials are other options. Vitrines would protect more traditional sculptures and barriers of acrylic glazing could be used for works such as “Earth, Sea, and Sky” (newer acrylic glazing products have superior scratch resistance, are anti-static, and can block harmful ultraviolet radiation). New glazing fabrication methods even allow for seamless, oversize barriers. There is a reciprocal relationship between protection of human health and practical measures designed to protect original artworks as valuable assets of cultural property.

Art councils that fund public art commissions routinely assess safety and durability and would be invaluable advisory partners. Numerous established hospital art collections and conservation agencies such as the Canadian Conservation Institute have a wealth of knowledge to share. Far from the severe restrictions currently envisioned, I believe comprehensive hospital art programs that include permanent gallery spaces should be mandated for all new medical facilities on Vancouver Island. Innovative partnerships between art and medicine have long been standard fare; the benefits of engaging visual art for human physical and mental health are well-known.

The sad alternative of banal framed images is suitably condemned in this article with the question: “Are designers hoping to bore germs to death?”

. . .

Across the Water

Across the Water

I was in Vancouver recently in the West End area for a couple of days and found myself with a few hours to pass before I had to be somewhere.

It had not been an actual plan, but my time turned out to be a tour of public sculptures in English Bay and Stanley Park. First stop: the “A-maze-ing Laughter” installation by Yue Minjun at English Bay, where people love to have photos taken of them in front of the sculptures.

Next up: Stanley Park Totem Poles. I grew up in the Vancouver area, and this particular attraction was one of many that I avoided for decades as being far too “touristy” to be of interest to me. In the years since, however, I have come to appreciate the different styles and simple, yet powerful forms of First Nations art from the West Coast.

An interesting addition to the Totem pole area: “Shore to Shore” by Master carver Luke Marston. Originally carved in cedar, then cast in bronze, I found this piece to be very interesting from many angles. I am glad that the public is able to come close to the sculpture and touch the forms (unlike the main Totem Pole area that keeps people at a distance with a small water filled moat).

Along the Seawall: “Harry Jerome”. This sculpture, balanced on the toes of one foot, appears to float in the air as the figure plunges toward an invisible finish line.