By David F. Rooney
Revelstoke’s visual arts scene is about to undergo a major shift on Friday, November 5, as painters, sculptors and others gather at the Visual Arts Centre to formally bid adieu to Jackie Pendergast and welcome her replacement, Victoria Strange.
Jackie needs no introduction. She has guided The Centre’s development since May 2007.
“It’s been a fabulous time,” she said in a recent interview. “I’ve really enjoyed every moment of it.”
During Jackie’s nine years at the helm she encouraged artists and the board of directors to excel at everything they set out to achieve.
“They’ve become established artists in our community,” she said, adding that she has worked hard to make the Visual Arts Centre an artistic institution that is “open to everyone.”
“Physically the gallery is a very different place than it once was,” Jackie said, noting that while it has changed a lot over the last nine years, she is “disappointed that I didn’t get the building done.”
That may be simply Jackie’s perfectionism. The critical transformation of what was really a tired old RCMP detachment building into a lively arts centre surrounded by lovely gardens has so far been very successful.
While she has formally retired as the The Centre’s executive director, Jackie continues being an imaginative and fine art and she retains the chairpersonship of the City’s Public Art Committee.
Her replacement at the Visual Arts Centre is Victoria Strange, a lively and relatively recent newcomer to Revelstoke from Halifax where she co-owned an art gallery. Younger than Jackie, Victoria is developing a sense of where she would like to the Art Gallery in the months and years o come.
“There are things we can do without rocking the boat too much,” she said in an interview.
We may see more art education programs and an art library. Perhaps most exciting of all, Victoria would like to see greater penetration of art in the community. And one key to that could be the establishment of an art rental-program in Revelstoke. It would take some doing, but if approached in the right way we could see more original art on display in people’s home and business.
“That would really encourage people to talk about art and share,” she said.
Everyone is invited to Jackie retirement party on Friday, November 5, at the Visual Arts Centre at 6 pm. Besides the opportunity to pass along their best wishes to Jackie and welcome Victoria, you’ll have an opportunity to to see the Art in the Park Exhibition as well as the works produced by RSS students who participated in the GASP Program.
Admission is by donation. The party runs from 6 pm until 9 pm.