Oxygen Art Centre News

Gerry Hill & Susan Andrews Grace read on March 17 at 7.30pm



The West Kootenay will take on a prairie flavor on St. Patrick’s Day when former Nelson, B.C. writing student Gerry Hill, who was Saskatchewan’s 2016 poet laureate, will read from his work together with Nelson author and fibre artist Susan Andrew Grace, a long-time resident of Saskatchewan, at Nelson’s Oxygen Art Centre on Friday, March 17.

The duo’s reading begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free ($5 donation appreciated) and the event is open to the public. The reading is the third in a series of author readings during 2016-2017 that mark 10 years of arts programming at Oxygen. The Centre is located at 320 Vernon St. (alley entrance).

Hill, a native of Saskatchewan, received a diploma in creative writing from Nelson’s former David Thompson University Centre following a teaching stint in Papua New Guinea. After further education in Edmonton, he taught English and writing at the University of Regina until 2015. He has published six poetry collections, including Hillsdale Book from NeWest Press in 2015, about the Regina suburb in which he was partially raised.

His honors include two Saskatchewan Book Awards, being a prize-winner in the 2011 CBC Literary Awards, and serving as his home province’s poet laureate in 2016.

One of Andrews Grace’s five poetry titles, Ferrywoman’s History of the World (from Coteau Books) was named Saskatchewan Book of the Year in 1998. Andrews Grace, who has lived in Nelson since 2001, most recently published Philosopher at the Skin Edge of Being from Signature Editions in 2013. Former Canadian poet laureate Fred Wah said that this book “posits anew the old meditation on ‘the one and the many’ through Grace’s masterful poetic skill at sustaining the music in language while allowing some reflective distance from the disillusionments of the present.”

Andrews Grace also maintains a visual art practice, in which her work, in her words, “echoes and honors textile traditions.” Solo exhibits of her work most recently were held at the Langham Art Gallery in Kaslo in the fall of 2015, and at Touchstones Nelson in the fall of 2013.

Support for Oxygen’s celebratory reading series has come from the Canada Council for the Arts through the Writers’ Union of Canada, as well as from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance. The readings are co-sponsored by Nelson’s Elephant Mountain Literary Festival.

Oxygen, Nelson’s only artist-run centre, was founded in 2002 by artists formerly employed by the city’s Kootenay School of the Arts.

The fourth and final reading in the current series will take place May 5, and will present Kelowna novelist Ashok Mathur, who heads UBC Okanagan’s Creative Studies Department, and Nelson’s Emily Nilsen, Columbia Basin Trust environmental program co-ordinator, who was shortlisted for the 2015 CBC Poetry Prize.

320 Vernon St (alley entrance)
250 352 6322
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Last week to see the show!

in flux
and in a (constant) state of flux
in constant change; ever-changing.

Oxygen Art Centre’s 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival presents in flux, a group show by Kootenay artists Hannah DeBoer-Smith, Maya Kacsmar-Mayoh, Olivia Mansveld, Teyana Neufeld and Tyler Wright.  The artists were invited to submit work and speak to the concepts behind the exhibition’s title, and how it pertains to their art practice and indeed their lives, as they move through the highly transitional time between high school, college and whatever comes next.

Textile artist and KSA graduate Teyana Neufeld, describes her new work Encumbrance as an attempt to deal with the struggles implicit in these major transitions:
As I leave my mid-twenties behind, I find myself feeling a state of constantly changing confusion regarding my next step forward: a feeling of hanging in flux, or being pulled off balance in one way or another. I feel weighed down by a complex combination of expectations and baggage and yet am at the same time cognizant of my relative privilege…  Encumbrance is my attempt to deal with this struggle. The form of this piece offers me hope – it implies forward motion, and the shedding of that which is burdensome.

The theme was apropos for Nelson artist Hannah DeBoer-Smith, whose installation I Found this on the Ground chronicles her wonderings throughout British Columbia and beyond.  She describes her work as “… a distillation of my of my various wanderings over the last number of years and all the things I found on the ground along the way, sometimes forgetting to look up, but finding so much mystery and beauty on the earth below me.”

According to festival director Miriam Needoba, the concept for the show developed through fleeting conversations with these artists, fragments surrounded by long silences; a stop over in Nelson between travels, between studies, between emails…   Meanwhile ideas were percolating and becoming transparent.

Nelson born Olivia Mansveld, who is also a graduate of KSA’s fibre art program, is currently taking a year off from a BFA program in Fibres & Material Practices at Concordia University in Montreal.  The artwork Mansveld has submitted for this exhibition was created as a direct result of the transitory mode her life has occupied over the last several years.  She describes both process and meaning as follows:
I started making these heart sculptures when I was moving and felt like life was in a state of constant transition. I couldn’t make space to spread out and draft patterns or sew with a machine, so I resorted to packing little baggies of thread scraps and doing embroidery on whatever I could find, and over time I had many bags of very specific fabrics and strings. They needed to be moved from Nelson to Montreal and back again many times while I worked on them. The hearts were born out of various nests of change and scraps, little pieces…  During transitional periods, the spirit may morph, shrink, grow, evolve and this can be felt and seen in the heart. These sculptures aim to illustrate the heart during transitory and ever-changing states of solitude, newness, familiarity, change, love, and joy.

Emerging Nelson artist Tyler Wright is currently pursuing post secondary education through Selkirk College, expecting to graduate in the Associate of the Arts program later this spring.  Wright’s current interests are processed based and he makes the parallel between the theme and his practice.
As a practicing artist, I tend to flit from one medium to another, never settling into one practice which I think comes from an intense desire to learn; once I’m exposed to something new, I become infatuated with it and must explore it. Thus, I’ve moved from acrylic painting in my High School days, to fashion design, felting, digital painting and now sculptural work. If my work does have a re-occurring theme it would be the exploration of obsession.

Maya Kacsmar-Mayoh is the youngest artist in this group of five and is in her final year of high school in Nelson.  She describes herself as “…an eighteen year old ghoul dwelling in the reclusive town of Ymir BC.”   Kacsmar-Mayoh is on the precipice of one of life’s most major and arguably most exciting transitions, and she refers to the different life cycles of insects as a metaphor for the changes her life is about to go through “… Moving away and getting an art education is like me going from a pupa to an adult insect, or maybe simply from a larva to a pupa… Shedding mountainous protection for skyscrapers. ”

The in flux exhibition opens the Youth Arts Festival on Thursday, February 23rd from 7-10pm.  The show will be then be open to the public from 1st – March 11th.  Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5pm.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome!  We invite school groups interested in viewing the exhibition to get in touch and we can arrange for some of the artists in the show to talk with the students.  For more information please visit www.oxygenartcentre.org

320 Vernon St (alley entrance)
250 352 6322
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Spring Break Art Camps with Erica Dee & Martina Avis!

WEEK 1 (March 20-24, 2017):

“SING” a Spring Camp with Erica Dee!

March 20-24, 2017
Monday to Friday

9am – noon Ages 8-11
2pm-5pm Ages 12-16

Cost $150/week

“SING” – An exploration through songs, music & expression with Erica Dee. This Spring Camp will give participants the opportunity to sing and play with songs that they are inspired by or want to create, while gaining more knowledge on how to sing and express musically using the voice, rhythm and musical instruments.

On the last day of camp, we invite family and friends to join us for a short performance in the last half hour of camp.


OR CALL TO REGISTER: 250 352 6322 OR EMAIL: info@oxygenartcentre.org

WEEK 2 (March 27 – 29, 2017):


March 27 – 29, 2017

Monday to Wednesday

1-4pm Ages 8-12 – Theatre Workshop acting, games, movement, and performance

Cost $150/week

Learn dramatic skills while playing games, taking on characters, telling stories and working towards a small performance.
On the last day of camp, we invite family and friends to join us for a short performance in the last half hour of camp.



OR CALL TO REGISTER: 250 352 6322 OR EMAIL: info@oxygenartcentre.org
Did you know that Oxygen Art Centre has a volunteer credit program that can be used towards reduced tuition costs?  Some scholarships are also available for help with accessing programming.  Students travelling in for camps from outside of the Nelson area are automatically eligible for 25% off camp tuition!

Oxygen Art Centre is a not for profit, community arts organization and artist run centre.  Contact us to find out about what the options are to help with accessing our arts education programming. E: info@oxygenartcentre.org

Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges support for its Arts Education Programming from the Province of British Columbia, Nelson and District Credit Union, British Columbia Arts Council and Business for the Arts sponsors; Hall Printing and Nelson Star

Martina Avis

Martina Avis is a local theatre practitioner. She has a BA in Theatre from the University of Victoria  and takes a special interest in community and youth projects. Recently, she worked with Winlaw School to put on a play with a cast of over 80 students.  She is extremely well-versed in Shakespeare and has directed numerous youth adaptations of his plays featuring Shakespeare’s original language, fast-paced movement, hilarity and exuberance.

Erica Dee

The daughter of Bostonian jazz musicians, Erica Dee has been immersed in music her entire life. She discovered her sound within the underground electronic and hip-hop culture of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Erica began singing with DJs and bands at the age of 17. In college, Erica quickly built a name for herself when she began DJ’ing a live set of her own in 2007. After seeing her live, DJ Nu-Mark of Jurassic 5 was so impressed with her performance, that he invited her to write and record in Los Angeles. That same year she embarked on her first nationwide tour with DJ Shadow and released her classic mixtape Golden, which combines 90’s R&B flavors with nu house and beat music.

Erica Dee has captivated audiences from Brazil to Israel, and performed with a wide array of artists such as Quest Love, Mark Farina, Masta Ace, Lil’ Kim, DJ NU MARK, Thievery Corporation, Justin Martin, and Bassnectar.

In addition to her recordings, Erica Dee’s live show is a refreshing experience; she’s an international soulstress that’ll lead you to discover the depths of your own heart, beguiling you with melody, rhythm, standout acapella segments and artistically selected productions.

Previous Experience and Education:
– 13 years of professional singing experience
– Selkirk College School Of Music Diploma
– School Of Moves Certification
– 8 Years of Private and Group Lessons
– 3 Years of Youth Camp Facilitations
320 Vernon St (alley entrance)
250 352 6322
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