Art, artists, artisan studios and art galleries in and around the Nicola Valley and within the city limits of Merritt BC.

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Best Places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe, Merritt, BC

“Don’t panic….we have bannock”

One of the best places to eat in Merritt is Kekuli Cafe. “Don’t panic… we have Bannock” is the official slogan of Kekuli Cafe in Merritt BC. A wonderful place to enjoy a number of indigenous foods.

Before we dive into the amazing food I’d like to treat you to a look at the amazing skor bannock. You have got to try one.

skor bannock kekuli cafe merritt bc

Ohhh so yummy Skor bannock from Kekuli Cafe

How Kekuli was born?

It all started when for many years Sharon Bond wanted to own her own restaurant. Having a passion for cooking, baking and making people feel welcome. Sharon also had a passion for helping and pleasing people.

With all the other places to eat in Merritt Sharon knew she wanted to create a place like no other. Therefore that’s exactly what she did.

The Cafe

Sharon wanted a traditional cultural aboriginal ambiance. Low light pow wow music, aboriginal art, jewelry and of course aboriginal cuisine. She wanted a place where everyone would feel welcome and acknowledged. Along with her husband Darren Hogg they created one of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe.

You definitely feel welcomed from the moment you walk in the doors of Kekuli Cafe.

The Name Kekuli.

It was quite interesting to find out where the name Kekuli came from. Sharon was looking for a unique name that would have an aboriginal flair to it. While reading a book by James Teit she came across the word “kekuli” which means house. Right away she knew that was the name and sent in paperwork to have it registered that day. 

The Thompson Indians used to live in these pit house( Kekuli’s)  hundreds of years ago.  These houses are build into the ground with logs, tule, dirt and grass. They were a safe, warm and happy place. That also protected the people from the elements during harsh winters.

You can still find Kekuli’s throughout the Thompson/Okanagan areas.

Kekuli Cafe pit house bannock

Photo Credit: Kekuli Cafe

Now however you can also find that warm inviting feeling of home in every Kekuli Café.

Franchise

The next step in Sharon and Darren’s endeavor was to start creating franchises. With the first being sold in December of 2018.

On Dec 1, 2018 Elijah Mack, just 22 years old, started living his dream by becoming the very first Kekuli franchise owner.  When asked what he wanted to be in 10 years he would say “I want to be my own boss.” Now Elijah is the proud owner of one of the best places to eat in Merritt.

Kekuli Cafe franchise owner

Photo credit Kekuli Cafe

Saskatoon ice tea is wonderful and refreshing treat any time of year. I love the flavor. Makes me want another one just thinking about it. My daughters favorite it the saskatoon berry smoothie.

Kekuli Cafe saskatoon ice tea

Saskatoon berry ice tea. It was so refreshing.

They have a variety of Bannock available and some amazing lunches. Fry bread tipi tacos, grilled Bannock flatbread, bannowiches, and a variety of salads. Check out their menu here.

Lunch

Oh my goodness, look at this amazing meal. So nice to have a place where everything is made fresh with fresh ingredients.

bannock blt

BLT Bannock with cran apple feta salad

BLT bannock fresh

BLT bannock at Kekuli

This BLT bannock was so amazing. The bannock was soft and warm, lettuce and tomato were fresh and no skimping on the bacon which was cooked to perfection. Must say this was the best BLT I have had in a very long time. Along with my BLT I chose to have the cranberry, apple and feta salad. It was so crisp and fresh. Accompanying the salad was a saskatoon vinaigrette dressing made in house.  Perfect for this salad. 

salad cranberry apple feta

Cranberry, apple and feta salad.

Desert I had a skor bannock. It was so fresh and I have to say better than any doughnut I have ever had. I was very tempted to buy a whole bunch of them to take home. 

Happy customers

While I was visiting there were a group from White Rock who stopped in for lunch. They were extremely thrilled with the service. One lady spoke of how Kurt, chief at Kekuli Cafe, resonated such happy vibes. They really appreciated it and would come back again for sure.

Look at these happy faces.

kekuli cafe great food eat merritt

Guests from Whiterock having lunch at Kekuli in Merritt, BC

 The Staff

When you walk into Kekuli Cafe you are greeted by the amazing staff.  They always have a smile on their faces and are ready to help you any way they can.

staff kekuli cafe

Amanda and Kurt staff at Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe isn’t just on of the best places to eat in Merritt. Friday nights they have open mic night where patrons can come and express themselves over the mic. They have had people sing, tell stories or say a poem. It’s a great way to spend some time with friends, enjoy the local talent and of course have some coffee and bannock.

So far I have tried the traditional, cinnamon sugar and skor. What kinds have you tried?

Art work

Something else you will find a Kekuli Cafe is some art from a local artist Wyatt Collins. Wyatt has such a flair for life and creates some wonderful artwork which is featured on the walls of Kekuli Cafe. There are also greeting cards with Wyatt’s artwork on them. 

local art merritt bc kekuli cafe

Art work by local artist Wyatt Collins

Other aboriginal products

There are a number of aboriginal items for sale at Kekuli Café. Some of them include Jams, jellies, coffee, pottery and cards. Stop in and have a look.

Kekuli Cafe Merritt BC

Some other offerings from Kekuli Cafe

If you are interested in having a blog showcasing your business please feel free to contact me at Experience Nicola Valley.  I would love to chat.

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

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Art of Sound – Courthouse Gallery Exhibition

Art and Sound

Art of Sound-Nicola Valley Arts Gallery Show 

“Even the art on the wall seems filled with sound and music!” 

What a show! Come and see! 25 artists and musicians from the Nicola Valley have created and contributed sound-themed

Art of Sound

“Is this a Grandma Phone? by Michelle Lonsdale

paintings, sketches, dioramas, handmade instruments, and more…

For the month of February 2019, the Courthouse Arts Gallery is ringing with the sounds of singing bowls, Djembe drums, vinyl records, wooden flutes, Leonard George rattles, handmade stringed instruments, and original songs.

Even the art on the wall seems filled with sound and music!

Artists and musicians get creative!

We sent out the call to artists for the February Community Show, and received an interested and enthusiastic response!

Quietude

Evelyn Armstrong and Lin Butler Buchanan submitted black, white, and grey photos of nature – ice and stone, quiet and running water. Angelina Brooymans brought in photos of a grand piano and guitar playing. People are stopping at her photo of the piano at the Murray Church and reminiscing.

Jean Kiegerl’s black and white oil of quiet trees is a piece for reflection.

Art of Sound

Jean Kiegerl

Nancy Ellingsen brought in two reflective works, in dark tones – one an abstract and one I can’t stop looking at with its moody rainbow of colours.

Shirley Lindgren’s guzheng instrument is on display, and she is allowing people to try it, play it. Shirley also has contributed several of her peaceful nature photographs.

Lively Music!

There are lots of submissions that suggest joyful and lively music, like the “Jazz in the Attic” collection, created in an afternoon of fun and creativity at the gallery months ago.

And Shirley Reynold’s “Crescendo” sets a lively tone.

These paintings are surrounded by instruments available for playing sounds and music: rattles, chimes, wind chimes, bells, and claves.

Gale Simpson contributed her collection of brass singing bowls. Jane Bartle allowed us to display, and try, two of her flutes and a gorgeous crystal singing bowl.

Vicki Strom gathered several instruments for us, including an impressive steel drum from Kindred Spirits Steel Drums, in

Art of Sound

Vicki Strom and Shirley Lindgren’s interactive instruments

Robert’s Creek. This company makes the drums, with different scales, colours, and  prices. Their motto is Creating Vitality Through Sound. Very interesting website showing the drums made to different scales. Creative BC! And the shiny green steel drum is a hit at our Art of Sound show.

Original Music

Besides the original music being played as instruments are tried out, we have two of our local Nicola Valley songs displayed on sheet music (Thanks, Jane!).

Harley Carmen has set up an interactive display with his song and lyrics “Emmanuelle”. Kim Vizi-Carmen’s beautiful Maya Woman is displayed with Harley’s music.

We have CD’s from Harley Carmen and Quade Lindgren. Quade also contributed a guitar, and stands for display and was a great help with the set up of the show.

Handmade Instruments

Artist Mordichai of Red Blue Dreams, created a model of instruments that can easily be made at home, accompanied by instructions to do so, and quotes about music and sound, a favourite display of the children coming to see the show.

Local 1st Nations artist, Leonard George has created carved and painted wood rattles, all different, almost all available for sale. An eagle, a medicine wheel, a feather, a must-see!

Art of Sound

Ernie Pawliuk guitar

We are excited to have one of Ernie Pawliuk’s stunning guitars, displayed in our glass case. We have seen photos of Ernie’s guitar making in process so it is very interesting to see the work up close.

Amrit Ahuja also brought in a guitar he made in grade 8! Amrit’s two guitars on display have been decorated with Sharpie art! 

Fascinating Sound Wave Art

Amrit Ahuja, also an audio engineer, printed and framed a variety of the sound waves created from different instruments. And a sound wave form made by the words, “I Love You”. A fusion of sound and art.

Fun Art of Sound

Michelle Lonsdale painted a gramophone called “Is This a Grandma Phone?”. It is displayed over another display: a record player with a box of vinyl records you can choose from to play – oldies and spoken word, like Janis Joplin and poet John Masefield.

Q101 contributed a vintage sound board we have placed low enough for all ages to move the dials and pretend they are in

Art of Sound

“Jukebox” by Robert Moretti

charge of the sound…

And Robert Moretti’s two paintings are a colourful addition- a jukebox on a checkered floor, and a painting of a piano and a guitar, Cuban public art. We are already getting ideas from the Cuban piece…perhaps a wood carving for our own musical town?

Inspiration!

Art exhibitions are a place of potential inspiration. And so are live music events.

This show “Art of Sound” is both an inspiration for music making and art creation! It makes me want to hear more, see more, and learn more.

Some of our contributors speak eloquently on the effects of sound on our well being-physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The vibrations of sound and their effects have been studied and used for centuries. Vicki Strom brought in a book to go with her display, “Yoga of Sound”.

Some of the exhibition pieces are for sale! Check them out and add an original piece of local art to your walls!

Art of Sound Events

Reception done! Vanessa Trenholm catered a delicious table of food for our February 1st evening reception. Lots of people came and the rooms were filled with the sounds of…sound, music, chatting. Shirley Lindgren gave us demonstrations of her guzheng, a Chinese stringed instrument. And the group Strings Plus entertained our small crowd with their music, before gracing us with more at Open Mic later that evening.

Art of Sound

Singing Bowls from Gale Simpson

Upcoming Sound and Art Events at the Courthouse Arts Gallery

Feb 13, 6-7pm – Artist Talk with Artist/Sculptor Pius Chong. Come and Listen!

Feb 27, 7-9pm – Singing Bowls with Gale Simpson, and more sound exploration. 

And stay tuned for times for Raven Ritcey’s Djembe drumming in the Gallery. 

The Gallery is open Thursday to Saturday, 12-6pm.

And join the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council, if you haven’t already! 

 

And Join us!

There’s always great sound at our Open Mic Nights at Kekuli Cafe, Friday nights 7-9pm. And a special themed night tonight, February 8th. Love songs and poems. Songs of romance is our focus…

Hope to see you!

Jano Howarth

Experience Arts and Culture in the Nicola Valley!

Art of Sound

Art of Sound Poster

 

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First Nation Traditional Foods and Lodging in the Nicola Valley

 First Nation Traditional Foods in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley British Columbia Canada First Nation Traditional Foods & Lodging

“We harvest berries in the traditional Nicola Valley areas, as well as, fish and hunt using the old ways and new ways.”

What type of First Nation traditional foods and lodging in the Nicola Valley have helped my people endure the hot summers and cold winters? My people, through many generations, have experienced the changing seasons of the Nicola Valley for generations. The extremes of our Nicola Valley weather systems have taught us many survival skills and have played a large part in growing our appreciation of our lands. How did the First Nation people survive is a journey I would like to share with you? 

My Ancestors Were Nomadic During The Spring, Summer, And Fall Seasons

My ancestors used to live throughout the Nicola Valley territory traveling in groups. Living a nomadic life on the move provided my people the food necessary to last through the long cold winter months. Families would gather together in our seasonal villages and enjoy cooking over the open  fire, and celebrating our traditions.

First Nation Traditional Foods and Lodging

Saskatoon berries I picked

We lived on berries …

First Nation traditional foods in Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley consisted of berries like Saskatoon berries, huckleberries, choke cherries and soap berries.

And We Hunted And Fished…

My ancestors’ diet wasn’t limited to just berries. No… we also fished and hunted wild game. During the fall seasons, my First Nation people would fish the mighty Fraser River. My people of our village would catch enough fish to survive the long winters. During the entire year, dependent on the weather, village hunters pursued wild game while hunting with bows.

 How Did My People Preserve Their Traditional Foods In Merritt BC?

traditional foods and lodging

Tule mat lodging

    In the early days of my people we often preserved our traditional foods by drying it on specially made mats of tule reeds. Tule reeds were gathered during the winter months on the shores of nearby lakes. Properly prepared these reeds were used for drying and preserving many of our First Nation foods. My people would also make larger mats from the tule reeds to double as floors in their makeshift lean-to’s during the warmer months.

How Did The Nlaka’pamux People Carry All This Food?

traditional foods and lodging

Cedar Root basket

As gathers and hunters we required transportation of our goods. Before the introduction of horses to our culture by the Spaniards, my people would use dogs to transport our goods. Because we lacked horses at that time my people would walk to and from,  here and there with their dogs. The dogs would be saddled with food packed in ceder root baskets.

Where Did My People Live Back Then?

traditional foods and lodging

Traditional lodges made out of cedar bark at Tuckkwiowhum interpretive village in Boston Bar

My First Nation ancestors used all sorts of materials from the land and waters. Because of our nomadic nature we were often in need of a portable shelter.  In the summer months we used temporary shelters because of the ease of transportation moving from location to location. These portable lean-to’s were created out of fir boughs and tule mats. If the location required a longer stay my people would build these lean-to’s with cedar bark. 

What About The Winter? 

First Nation pit houses

Interior model of a traditional Sheeiskin

Those summer temporary shelters wouldn’t hold up to the long winters of the Nicola Valley. During the winter season our shelters would take on new materials to create a new kind of shelter more durable to the winter conditions.  This new shelter covered in earth is called a pit-house. In our first Nation tongue Nlaka’pamuxcin it is called a “Sheeiskin”

Lots of thought and planning went into these structures. They would spend weeks looking for a proper location, then, when they found an acceptable spot, the community would work together and help build a pit house.

The sheeiskins were typically conical in shape with a hole in the center, which would let the campfire smoke escape through the hole.  The First Nation men would enter down a ladder through the same center hole. while the women would enter through a side entrance. Each First Nation pit house could usually hold up to 3-4 families.  There are locations in the Nicola Valley where you can still see the pit houses left behind from old sheeiskins, like at Monck Provincial Park.

Traditional Ways Are Still Around

Our First Nation traditional foods and lodging made it possible for my ancestors to survive the four seasons of the Nicola Valley. 

traditional foods and lodging

Chokecherries I picked

Today we still harvest berries in the traditional areas and fish and hunt using the old ways – as well as the new. Our respect for our elders has never wavered.  Elders are given first servings of any food we have gathered, and they are the keepers of our history often sharing their stories of our traditional and cultural ways.

A questions I have for you:

What is the traditional name of the First Peoples in my own area?   

Please feel free to contact me with your answers. I always love learning about new cultures. 

Or, if you also are Nlaka’pamux, share your stories with me!

See you later!  

(In many First Nation’s languages there is no word for “Good-bye”, as that word may be interpreted as I will never see that person again.)

 

 

 

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Shop Local in Merritt, BC – Vision Quest Optical and Gifts

Looking for Things To Do in the Nicola Valley? 

Shop Local in Merritt, BC – Vision Quest Optical and Gifts

“Come Downtown and Buy Something!” 

Shop local in Merritt, BC

Decorative BC designed drum bag

Jeanine Gustafson, owner of Vision Quest Optical and Gifts, encourages people to shop local in Merritt BC and support our businesses. That’s the message she would like to send out to the people who live in the Nicola Valley.

Vision Quest is an eclectic shop right on the corner of Quilchena and Voght Street, a corner everyone passes when they are downtown Merritt. Jeanine has a prime location on the main block, and fills her windows with a lively display all year round. If you pop in to see what’s there, you’ll find jewelry, gems, glass frames, toys, cards, books and local art.

On the Quest for Vision Services? Glass Frames? 

Jeanine is an optician with 30 years experience and her shop began as a way for her to offer optical services to the people in the community. You can find a room full of diverse frames for children, women, and men in Vision Quest shop, and Jeanine can help you find a frame you like and fulfill your prescription. She offers one more great choice in the community before a person decides to head off for Kamloops or to online services. Definitely worth checking out!

Looking for Local Art? 

Shop Local in Merritt, BC

Bead Jewelry Galore

Over the ten years Jeanine has been providing options for vision care, she has expanded the offerings in her shop. Vision Quest is full of art, crafts, and jewelry created by about 40 local artists. 

All year round there are gifts, mementos, and useful items to choose from: cards by Marilyn Lytton, blankets from Amelia Washington, handmade soap from Les Keys, baskets and beading from Charles McKay. 

Jeanine herself creates feather earrings and other jewelry. There are painted tiles and jewelry by Pauline Ouellet, cards by photographer Heidi Koehler, beading by Ashala Harvie. And beautiful pained rocks by local artist Georgina Beatty! 

1st Nations Art 

Jeanine says the majority of the artists showing their work at Vision Quest are 1st Nations from the Nicola Valley, and some

Shop Local in Merritt, BC

1st Nations Art

from nearby regions like Lillooet. Her contacts also provide her with 1st Nations items designed in BC to satisfy her visitors from other provinces and countries. Look for beautiful designs on drum bags, a red lampshade, beaded earrings, medallions, baskets, cards…

The prices at Vision Quest are reasonable and range from about $5 to…more. I was very taken with a gorgeous across-the-shoulder bright turquoise suede bag, for just over $100. 

The local work in Jeanine’s lively, full shop is worth a leisurely search.

But I will admit that the jewelry, especially the gem jewelry, at Vision Quest often draws me through the welcoming doors on Quilchena Avenue.

Gems and Trinkets Galore!

Shop Local in Merritt, BC

Gems and Jewelry

Jeanine’s windows are full of her jewelry, hanging or displayed in photo frames. And once you are in the shop, the jewelry is displayed in every cabinet, and in every nook and cranny. Amethysts, rose quartz, topaz, garnets, you name it. There are simple pendants to elaborately set jewelry, rings, earrings, bracelets in all shapes and colours.

There is also a diverse assortment of costume jewelry and a variety of pretty bags for storing your gems and trinkets.

What else? 

Jeanine carries local books from local authors when possible, fun toys for kids, guitar pics…

And a good supply of beading supplies: seed beads, gem beads, and others, and lots of supporting items like thread.

Business in Merritt 

I asked Jeanine what support she gets from the community. And her reply, “I am still open.” 

Shopping Local in Merritt, BC

Tiny decorative painted bird houses

In my opinion, with years of experience in owning a retail business myself, ten years is a success story!

Jeanine Gustafson is the owner of Vision Quest, renting her prime location from the local owners of the building. She has been open for ten years and is very familiar with what works downtown, and what doesn’t. She talks about how she is supported by the City of Merritt’s policies and attention. 

What Works? 

Shop local in Merritt, BC

Hand made baby moccasins

Jeanine talks about other businesses and organizations which are supportive. For instance, she mentions how helpful the Open Door was to her. And comments on the support that Work BC has given to people she knows. 

“All sorts of fun people come in!” 

Jeanine enjoys the people who come in. She has regulars who pop in for tea and chats. She serves a steady flow of people coming in for optician services. And she welcomes all the visitors to town who make their way through her doors.

As we know, Merritt attracts people from all over the world. Jeanine often acts as an ambassador and tells people where to go in town, and what is happening locally. She has stories she shares with visitors, things I didn’t know about the history of some of the surrounding buildings and I’ve lived here for a lot longer….

What do you enjoy the most?

I asked Jeanine what she enjoys most about her business. After a moment’s thought, she describes the fun she has setting up

Shop local in Merritt, BC

Feather earrings by Jeanine Gustafson

the Christmas windows! Jeanine possesses the considerable Christmas village collection of the late Marguerite Kempin, a long time resident of the valley. It takes Jeanine a month to set it up, with no days off! And it will take a month to take down, ready for the next display! So it was great to hear that is a favourite part of her shop experiences.

I enjoy the Christmas window! And I know others who do too, some who take their grandchildren downtown to view it all.

Have you seen it? Whoops, it may be too late for this year. But the next display in Vision Quest’s display windows, on the corner of Voght Street and Quilchena Avenue will be there soon. Stroll by! Pop in!

Vision Quest is open Tuesday to Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 11am-5pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.

But Jeanine is open on Mondays in the summer months. She says Monday is a busy day in Merritt in the summer!

And how will she keep going in the slow months? Jeanine’s message to the locals: “Come downtown and buy something!”

Now that’s a positive message that supports all the shops in Merritt!

Thanks, Jeanine! Good visit! 

Shop local in Merritt BC

Blue suede bag

 

Contact Jeanine Gustafson at Vision Quest visionquestoptical@gmail.com 

Vision Quest Optical and Gifts Facebook

More on the arts and culture scene in the Nicola Valley

And if you want to see more local art visit our local Arts Gallery at the heritage Courthouse on Nicola Avenue. 

And visit our Nicola Valley Arts Council site, to see what’s happening in the arts in our valley.

The NVCAC is also on Facebook. 

And check out my Creative Community Facebook page.

Shop local in Merritt, BC

Shopping at Vision Quest

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Country Christmas – Things to Do in Merritt, BC!

​Country Christmas Week Here in Merritt, BC!

Country Christmas delivers fun and community spirit…

​With a Festival of Trees, a Community Choir event, the Love to Dance Performance, our fabulous Christmas Parade, and shopping til midnight!

“We keep having to paint more little festive canvases as people buy them right off the tree!​”

Country Christmas

Tiny Painted Canvas Decorations

Our Country Christmas week is spectacular! It takes place during the last week of November and is one of the best things to do in Merritt.

My own experience started a few days before the week of celebration with the arrival of our tree at the Courthouse Gallery. For several years the Festival of Trees has involved an inspired number of businesses and non-profit groups. The groups each decorate a tree in their own fashion, from classic to creative, 

This means we have trees decorated with hockey pucks, ballet slippers, and peacock feathers-and everything in between. One year I decorated our Pop Up Shop tree with little dolls and teddy bears (all with sparkle halos on their heads) and rainbow feather boa garlands.

Festival of Trees 

Country Christmas

Festival of Trees Past at CMHF

For the first years of Country Christmas, all the trees were set up on the main street of town, in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s a beautiful building with hard wood floors, high ceilings, and western-style chandeliers. The venue attracted locals and visitors from neighboring towns to see our Festival of Trees.

This year for the Festival of Trees event, all the decorated trees are spread out around the town, and people head out to do the tree tour. We adorned our tree at the Courthouse Gallery with tiny canvases, painted by local artists and interested Creatives. We keep having to paint more little canvases as people are buying them right off the tree! And all the money supports the Gallery.

Love to Dance Performance

Country Christmas

Love to Dance “Museum of Art”

This year, for the Country Christmas festivities, the Love to Dance Academy​ presented “Museum of Art”. Dance teachers Lizette Nel and Vanessa van Rensburg choreographed the dances which involved dancers of all ages, from adorable tots to graceful seniors. 

Herman Nel looked after the creation of the sets designed by Vanessa and Lizette, as well as the lights and music. Over a hundred colourful and gorgeous costumes and dresses were designed and sewn by talented members of the Merritt Dance Society. And there were plenty of volunteers, parents and dance lovers, who helped pull off the beautiful event. 

The two-hour long performance was presented at both an afternoon matinee, with classes of children arriving on school buses, and a stellar evening performance. 

Michelle Etchart, local songstress, performed two moving pieces while dancing continued around her. 

Country Christmas

Michelle Etchart

The night performance was captured on video, with CD’s available. I attended the matinee, and will be sure to acquire the evening performance CD. Worth watching again! And kudos to all those involved, with special recognition to the dancers showing such professionalism in putting on the two events in the same day!

Thanks to the Love to Dance Academy!

Christmas Concert!

Talk about things to do in Merritt! The night after the dance performances, several choirs and singing groups, duos, and soloists, provided a soul-satisfying musical evening to a large crowd at the Merritt Civic Center. (That’s the farthest away from the doors I have ever had to park in my many years of Merritt living!) 

Country Christmas

Merritt Community Band

The Merritt Community Band was there, the Community Choir, and more…

Also, Cecilia Dyck and Caitlyn Stephanie Walsh played piano duets, the four Snees entertained, and Michelle Etchart again performed with her spot on renditions.

And not only did the groups and soloists perform their own pieces, but the collaborations amongst them, and even the audience, brought the community together in inspired evening of music.

Well done! Bravo!

Then the Santa Parade…

I have heard that our Santa Parade is the largest in the world! The country? Our province? Well, I’ll wait to be informed properly but I do think the Nicola Valley Santa Parade is one of the best things to do in Merritt!

Country Christmas

Santa Parade 2018, Merritt Herald photo

​The Merritt Country Christmas Santa Parade’s success shows what stuff our community is made of. We are tough, determined, hard working, creative, and ready to have fun…and all in support of our businesses and organizations.

And this year’s parade tested all of those qualities because it started to rain as the parade entries were lining up, started to pour as it got going, and the rain didn’t quit until near the end, when big fat snowflakes started to fall. People knew they’d get soaked, but they didn’t stay home. The floors of the shops, open for business until midnight after the parade, had puddles from the rain soaked customers….

Check out the photos of the rainy event on Merritt Herald‘s online coverage.

Open Mic Night, one more thing to do in Merritt during our Country Christmas week!

Country Christmas

Donna Dixon, a regular at Open Mic night

On the Friday night of the Santa Parade, I jut got wet running out to my car, and then dashing in to Kekuli Cafe. We put on a special Open Mic night that night! And we watched the rain come down, then the snow, and then mopped up the puddles that our audience left on the cafe floor when they poured in after the parade and settled in to the cozy venue.

 Mugs of hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate were in high demand! And we invited our musicians to warm up the crowd. Al and Denise, Robert Bertrand, Willard Wallace, Quade Lindgren, Jim West…

And regulars like Doug and Donna Dixon were there to enjoy the live music.

 

It was a special Country Christmas 2018 

Pouring rain during our Santa Parade only adds to the memories!

I hope there are always Country Christmas planners and volunteers. This week is a highlight in our community. It gets all of us who participate in any way, from young to old, in the mood for the holiday season, whatever our beliefs. We come together, show off our talents, have fun, support each other and are inspired to be thankful for each other. 

So kudos to the people in our community who plan Country Christmas, who put on the events, and who participate in them to make them all worthwhile. 

Let’s recognize each other for the contributions to community that Country Christmas brings!

Country Christmas

Painted Canvases on our Gallery tree

Now, does anyone want to come to the Courthouse Gallery to paint a little canvas for our tree? I found some empty spaces again! All welcome!

And you can wave to the LTD dancers while you are there. We share the Courthouse space.

Life as I know it, Jano Howarth

Creative Community

Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

 

 

 

Country Christmas

Phyllis Laage’s Tree Decoration

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WILD! Flies, Skins, and Skulls…

WILD! Flies, Skins, and Skulls…

Creative Exhibition at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, Merritt Canada

Fishermen, Hunters, Photographers, Collectors, Artists…

Things to do in Merritt

Taxidermy, fly ties, carvings

Things to do in Merritt…A nature exhibition Nicola Valley style: taxidermy, fly ties, rods, skulls, pelts, eagle photography, moose airbrush painting. Collections of stuffed birds, birds’ nests,  shells…lots to see!

Who’s showing their nature art and collections at the Gallery?

  • Peter McVey, fly tier and fisherman extraordinaire. 
  • Willie Kiegerl, providing us with a variety of animal skulls to identify. And other wildlife. 
  • Dawn Shackelly’s eagle photography, and owls, big horn sheep, baby ducks… 
  • Jessie Rabbit with her bull calf and fireweed, her beautiful airbrush painting. 
  • Cindy Trent with collections: skulls, BC shells, sea stars, and bird’s nests 
  • Rory Hepner has provided beaver and coyote pelts, and animal skulls 
  • Artist Renee Hartwigs’ tri coloured owl and Joel Reid’s “find the bird” painting 
  • Mischelle and Bill Pierce have contributed both creatures and colourful fly ties 
  • Fran McMurchy created three small watercolour creeks for three fly ties in oak frames. Unique! 

And Murphy Shewchuck, who put down his fly rod years ago. And picked up his camera… 

A nature exhibition Nicola Valley style…

Things to do in Merritt

Nature collections and Renee Hartwig’s Owl Art

Our Nicola Valley, surrounding the town of Merritt Canada, is filled with hunters and fishermen and women. Lots of families in the area raise their children with skills to provide for their families from the land around. From berries to deer to lake trout. Children and adults alike celebrate bringing down their first deer, or catching their first salmon.

We are set in a grassland valley, filled with creeks and lakes, surrounded by rolling hills and mountain ranges. There are a lot of choices, many paths to take, and backroads to follow- to hunt, fish, gather. Lots of nature.

Our exhibition reflects this focus on nature in the area!

I have long been fascinated with the art of fly fishing and fly tying. As a child, my family just fished with rods that fit in our Rambler. We fished enough, and I enjoyed it enough, to make sure my own kids had rods and gear enough to catch Lake Trout at Monck Park, which we ate for supper on the camp fire.

But we had friends who were hooked on fly fishing, and I watched movies with fly fishing action (looks close to meditation). And I could see the charm of those long, supple rods flashing the line out over water. And the flies…

We have one of the most well-known fly tiers in our area displaying his flies, ties, and accoutrement. Peter McVey not only told stories at our WILD! Reception, but left his book so we could read more about his adventures…

We have vintage suitcases displaying flies that others have created. Works of art!

What if you wanted to get started on fly tying?

From Gear Junkie

Catching your first fish on the fly will embed new levels of appreciation for all things fly fishing.

Things to do in Merritt

Fly Tie Watercolour art by Fran McMurchy

Most fly anglers hit a point in their fishing career when they think about tying their own flies…. There’s an entirely new level of satisfaction from catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself.

The path to tying amazing flies isn’t the easiest. And the reward is 10-fold compared to that of storebought flies.

Fly tying is an angling tool that can empower you to catch more fish. Tying flies enables an angler to not only replicate their favorite bug at the fly shop but also create their own custom patterns no one else has. The only limits you face at a tying vise are imagination and creativity.

Anglers construct flies to replicate the exact bugs found in streams.

Tying also offers the avenue to get in touch with the most artistic side of fly fishing. Fully dressed Atlantic salmon flies and modern articulated streamers can be just as artistic as painting, with the hook acting as your canvas. 

Yes! That’s what I thought when, as art gallery director in our small community, we were brainstorming Art Exhibitions.

This area is filled with fishable lakes and streams. One of our oldest slogans is “A lake a day, as long as you stay!”

The Nicola Valley is a perfect place for a Fly Tie show!

Things to do in Merritt

Ruffed Grouse, birds’ nests

And, my buddy said…taxidermy too! Well, sure!

Most of us have seen taxidermied creatures, in museums, at our uncle’s house… Taxidermy is an art in itself.

What does taxidermy mean? From answers.com

Taxi is Latin for move. Dermis is Latin for Skin. Taxidermist is a mover of skin. Taxidermy is what he does. A taxis is a division of classification especially when concerning animals. Dermous means skin, Dermy is an activity concerned with skin. So — Many types of animal skin activity.

In the Nicola Valley, we have several taxidermists. They do work for locals and also do spectacular mounts for clients outside our area. I’ve seen photos…

At the Gallery we have stuffed birds: ptarmigan, ruffed grouse, blue grouse (the smart ones), a beautiful owl… And a mounted fish.

We also have amazing carvings of birds and fish that look like the real thing…

And if you want a taste of the big critters, we have photographs of mountain sheep, bald eagles, an air brush painting of a moose calf. And real antlers of moose and deer, a buffalo hoof, a coyote and beaver pelt, two bear skulls…

Lots of skulls! Of all kinds! Coyote, beaver, raccoon, fish… Hummingbird skeleton! You can barely see it!

So here we are, in the middle of an exhibition showcasing the work of many people local to our area. Collectors, painters, fly tiers, taxidermists.

Things to Do in Merritt… Come and Visit & Get Involved!

From Oct 11-Nov 3, 2018, at the Courthouse Arts Gallery.

Things to do in Merritt

WILD! Poster by Kim Leclair

Got skulls? We are looking for donated animal skulls, bones, antlers, for a painting workshop!

This should be fun…. Want to join us?

Register for Saturday, Oct 27/18. 1-3pm at the Courthouse Arts Gallery in Merritt. $20. $10 if you bring your own skull…

Go to Nicola Valley Arts Council Facebook Page for more info!

And if you miss it, we’d love to collect skulls and antlers for more artwork, for another time. Call 250-378-6515 to donate.

Also fly tie expert and fisherman extraordinaire, Peter McVey, is telling stories, Friday Nov 3/18, 4-6pm at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, 1840 Nicola Avenue, Merritt, BC

Visit Nicola Valley Arts Council‘s site for more about the arts in the Nicola Valley.

Read my blog about Open Mic Nights in Merritt, held every Friday night at Kekuli cafe 7-9pm. Come on out!

Jano Howarth, promoting creativity in our community

Michelle Bacon
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Michelle Bacon

Owner/Operator at Michelle Lea's Photography
I grew up on the Lower Mainland in Maple Ridge. We always had property and animals. I was always involved somehow with horses most of my life. I moved to Merritt approx 14 years ago. I absolutely love the fact that I can live, work and play in such an amazing area. Everything is literally out my back door. I have time and time again been amazed at how this community comes together in good times and bad. I now live on my own little farm halfway between Merritt and Logan Lake. I love everything outdoors. I enjoy camping, fishing, hunting, quading, canoeing, photography and am thinking of kayaking this year. I am very excited and honored that I am able to share all my passions and adventures with you all. Please follow, share and comment on my blogs. I love to hear what you think. Thank you
Michelle Bacon
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Artists of Merritt, Canada – Libby Dybikowski

Artist of Merritt- Libby Dybikowski

“I like to work quickly and spontaneously…”

Libby believes art can help you see the world in a different way.

Artists of Merritt

Turquoise Vase 16″x20″ Acrylic on Canvas

Libby Dybikowski is one of our popular and prolific Artists of Merritt. Her work is known for colour vibrancy, for bold brush-work, and for simple themes with lasting appeal. She says the enjoyment of the Nicola Valley surroundings and the pleasure of travel to exotic locations drive her choice of subject matter. 

I first met Libby at a Nicola Valley Community Arts Council meeting. And I discovered a focused, articulate lover of arts and cultures, with skills of great use to a social-profit organization. We worked together when I first took on the Gallery Director job for the arts council. She hung my first show, collaborating with the three lower mainland artists for the “Poetic Language of Landscape” exhibition. I will always be grateful…

Artists of MerrittI first encountered Libby’s art, when I invited her to fill some spaces for a community show we held. A lot of the art contributed by the community ended up, to a large part, smaller in scale than I anticipated. Libby’s work is all sizes. And she brought in several large canvases, covered with bold colour and form. I became a fan…

From the words of Anne MacKay, Chief of Conservation at the McCord Museum in Montreal, “Libby Dybikowski’s skillful handling of colour and form give her work an impact that is hard to deny. Strong, sensuous and daring, her paintings grab the observer at first glance, and continue to engage with every viewing.”

 

Montreal beginnings, Vancouver life… 

Artists of Merritt

Burrard Inlet, Before 18″x24″

Born in Montreal, Libby spent her first twenty or so years in Montreal. From her website: Libby has been a lifelong appreciator of the arts, including music, theatre, dance and fine art. A graduate of McGill University in French language and literature, with a year at the Université Aix-Marseille and two summers at Cornell’s Hotel School, her professional achievements prior to painting included management strategist, negotiator, and founder of a successful national executive search business. 

Libby enjoyed painting as a child, and watched her father, an architect, paint “en plein aire”. As a teenager she found more interest in music, and playing the clarinet and appreciating classical and jazz forms.

From age 20 to retirement, Libby worked in Vancouver, in human resources for Hilton International and the Bay, and as a university administrator at UBC, and finally owning and operating her own executive search firm, Provence Consulting, that specialized in searches for university administrators for universities across Canada..

Artists of Merritt – Libby Dybikowski in the Nicola Valley Artists of Merritt

Upon retirement, Libby and her husband spent more and more time in the beautiful Nicola Valley. Here she ran across a watercolour workshop given by Jean Kiegerl, picked up her brushes, and hasn’t looked back since. She switched to acrylics and now paints often, in spurts. Inspired by her surroundings: the landscapes, the animals and people around her, and her travels. Libby includes mixed media is some of her work, like paper and netting.

She has a studio where she can leave out her paintings in progress. Libby walks away from them when the artistic flow stops or slows down, and returns to them when the time is right.

One of her pastimes, between painting bursts, is spending time with her horse, Buttercup. For a while Libby also created jewelry with semi-precious stones.

More About Libby

Artists of Merritt

Libby and fellow artist Kim Vizi-Carmen

Libby enjoys playing bridge with friends.

She prefers coffee to tea, dogs to cats. 

Libby watches tennis and late night talk shows – or parts, like Stephen Colbert’s monologues. Her favourite movie is still Lawrence of Arabia. And favourite books are Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities and The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje

Libby loves to bake and enjoys French cuisine. 

And France is her favourite country to visit.

Libby loves to travel, creating her own travel adventures with her husband, Jim.

Support, Inspirations, and the place of Art in Society.

Artists of Merritt

Libby and husband Jim

Libby feels she gets a lot of support for her painting, from Jim, and her friends and fellow artists, like Kim Vizi-Carmen and Jean Kiegerl. She has received mentoring from many artists, including Joanne Beaule Ruggles and Patricia Peters. She has enjoyed painting alongside artists, like Cyndra Bradford in California. Libby says she has learned a lot in the company of other artists.

When asked about the challenges she has encountered in pursuing her art, Libby talks about the importance of pleasing herself when she paints and not being affected by the opinions of others.

 

She believes that art stretches society, that it can help you see the world in a different way. “Bigger and better…bigger skies, deeper oceans.”

Libby has long admired Canadian Group of Seven artist, Lawren Harris. She visits art galleries and museums for inspiration in cities when she travels- Paris, Barcelona, Nice. “Amazing!” And most recently, Marrakesh, a city she would return to…

Merritt 2 Marrakesh 

Artists of Merritt

Merritt 2 Marrakesh

Libby is showing at the Courthouse Arts Gallery. There are over 30 paintings depicting three themes: her recent trip to Morocco and the exotic city of Marrakesh, the city of Vancouver, BC, and the Nicola Valley. From horses, to mountains, to colourful city scenes, to flower still life, and in all sizes, Libby has something for everyone to enjoy. And all of us in the Nicola Valley have the opportunity to acquire a Libby Dybikowski painting of our own.

Come and see Libby’s work at the Courthouse Arts Gallery on Nicola Valley in Merritt. Or visit Libby’s website, where you will find her paintings are available for the world.

See for yourself and tell a friend! September 6-29, 2018

Merritt 2 Marrakesh

Read more about other artists of Merritt and art and culture in the Nicola Valley, here on Experience Nicola Valley.

Check out our local Nicola Valley Community Arts Council site to see what is happening in the arts in the valley.

Jano Howarth

Every work of art which really moves us is in some degree a revelation: it changes us.  Lawren Harris

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Street Market Art – Merritt, BC

Street Market Art – Merritt, BC 

Community Art in Merritt, Canada

Youth Take Leadership and make Summer Nights Street Market Art

Street Market Art

Amy Maclaren’s creative flower crown

Street Market Art is happening every Friday night for the whole summer. Amy Maclaren has laid out a plan for character creation – decorating crowns and hats, belts and sashes, masks, and even shoe fun. And her fellow workers, Amrit Ahuja, Felize Omori, and Alexia Clark are a part of the action on the downtown Quilchena block in Merritt Canada.

The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council is employing these four young people through the Youth Employment Program. So this summer, the arts community has help with all kinds of projects and programs!

From the Street Market, to Open Mic Nights, to Corbett Lake Paint Outs this young group is pitching in to make our summer events successful.

 

From Prep to the Market

Street Market Art

Alexia and Felize create flower crowns

First comes the idea of setting up an NVCAC gazebo at the Friday Summer Nights Market, and enlivening it with activities.

With Amy leading the way for this arts project, the activities planned are all about costume and character building. As a student in Costume Design, Amy’s creative direction includes everything from coloured sketches to rainbowsequins.

Amy sources her materials for the market activities in town, materials accessible to everyone who lives here or are visiting the Nicola Valley.

 

Street Market Art

Everything tied or taped down

Gazebo and other necessities are gathered and set up on Quilchena Avenue, the main block. Our first night’s set up was a gusty wind challenge. Duct tape and bricks were in place before flowers and feathers. 

Merritt is a windy town, so the locals are prepared.

But after our first night, we are adding a few bungee cords and table clips to our bin.

The YEP workers get everything set up, and then two of them leave to set up and help at Open Mic. Amrit works the sound and Felize and Alexia welcome the audience there at the Kekuli Cafe..

 

Neighbours on the Street Market

There is room for over 20 vendors or non-profits to set up on the town’s busy block. From a big food truck to gazebos, to small tables, the block is almost full. The Farmer’s market is to the west of us. And a variety of displays is to our east. 

Janet Roth is overseeing the Love to Dance Academy’s table. She is there to let people know what a great dance studio we have in town. And encourage memberships in the Love to Dance Society that supports it. 

Street Market Art

Janet Roth at the Love to Dance Academy table

Charlene Lively has set up the Pro Rodeo display, with information and some news about the High School event that was taking place just that weekend.

Street Market Art

Charlene Lively at the Pro Rodeo display

There are jewelry tables and displays of woodwork by local craftsman.

Tina has set up her Humble Hobo Hotdogs Stand at the end of the block. And there is a new Curried Chicken food truck that has line ups for their generous portions.

And there are baked good tables to pick up something sweet.

Music at the Friday Nights Market

Street Market Art

The Strange Companions

We can hear country music coming from the speakers on the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, right on Quilchena Avenue, our main street.

And if we keep going, more music…

A favourite local group, the Strange Companions, have committed to several Friday nights at the street market for the summer. They have created a board of info and calls to action, like “Go on over to Open Mics…” Read while you stop to listen!

This group has been playing together for years, with musicians and singers coming and going. We never know who is going to show up when we know The Strange Companions are playing… 

 

Back at the NVCAC Gazebo

Street Market Art

Felize and Amy help kids fancy up at the Arts table

Amy and the Youth Employment workers lay out the week’s art activity. Their first work was fancy name or character cards creation with foam letters, sparkles, and shape stickers.

The second week flower and birds were provided for crowns and embellishments like coloured feathers and foam sparkle stickers were attached to cowboy hats

Last week, the YEP workers got busy with face painting and created characters for the children coming by.

What’s up this week?

Support from the NVCAC Directors and Members

Beside our art activity table, the NVCAC Directors set up a membership table under our gazebo, ready to encourage passersby to join our Arts Council and support the arts in all of the the Nicola Valley. 

Street Market Art

Mischelle and Gale discuss the Street Market action and the dancing nearby.

Two active members, Director of Programs Mischelle Pierce, and artist and Gallery supporter, Gale Simpson, discuss all the arts action happening in town!

This week, right at the end of our Friday Nights Street Market, some good music and dancing is happening at the Adelphi Hotel. Some of our great country and western musicians play there regularly. And people come from far and wide to hear them and get up on the dance floor.

This weekend there was a group from Arizona dancing up a storm. Not sure if they were heading out to the Rockin River Fest event in the Valley. Or if they just staed in town and enjoyed the action right here on the main street.

 

Visitors from Hobart, Tasmania

Street Market Art

Jane, Jasper with mom Lani, and Jean

It’s Jasper! My grandson from down under. Jasper is chatting it up with Jane Bartle, NVCAC Treasurer, mom Lani, and president Jean Kiegerl. I think Jean is selling Jasper an Arts Council membership.

And I know Jasper ended up with enough RCMP Musical Ride tickets to take all of us! 

Jasper and family weren’t the only visitors from out of town. We have travelers weekly, often from Alberta, the States, Europe, coming to experience the Nicola Valley.

Join us for some  Street Market Art!

Come down on Friday nights 6-9pm. See what’s up, buy or make an embellished cowboy hat or flower crown. Check the current week’s activity!

Street Market Art

Wearing their embellished cowboy hats

Sashes? Shoes art? What Street Market Art are we up to?

It’s usually free, with people making donations to help us buy the next week’s activity materials….

Go to Nicola Valley Arts Council Facebook page to check out the next event!

And be sure to come down and see us, listen to some music, grab some food, stop and chat. Make yourself a crown!

Jano, Arts and Culture Blogger

 

 

Street Market Art

Vanessa Trenholm led a community canvas painting again!

 

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Merritt Summer Nights Market

Merritt Summer Nights Market

“People like to have a place to be able to shop unique items and congregate.”

Starting Friday July 6th, 2018

Small town summer nights markets…… if you haven’t experienced at least one, you should! StartingMerritt Summer Nights Market Friday July 6th, 2018 there will be more than ever to experience in the Nicola Valley. We want something new and exciting. Something to do on Friday nights. Merritt Summer Nights Market! A place to congregate and encourage business, and what better place than right down town Merritt?

An opportunity for local downtown and home businesses

There are a lot of small home businesses in Merritt, but not many platforms to sell their products. In the day and age of social media, it is easier than ever to get your business out there for free. But really, where else can you go to sell your products? Sure there is the odd craft fair. Maybe an event every so often like Canada Day in the Park, the Garlic Festival or the Fall Fair. But other than that, where do you go?

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Looking east down the stroll

The reality is, people like to have a place to be able to shop unique items and congregate. To take a little cash and maybe buy themselves something you can’t buy in a general store. Maybe it is just a garage sale antique, or something nostalgic from their childhood.

For me I like to find unique gifts for Birthday’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. I like to find unique jewelry for myself. I love my “real” jewelry, but I am a lover of “junk jewelry” and hand made items. I like things that are different, often statement pieces. I often find it is the cheap earrings that I just happened to stumble upon on some crazy clearance that often are the ones people admire most!  

And there’s the food…

Then there is the smell of a Summer Night Market. You know the one- the fried onions, pulled pork,

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Will there be fresh berry pie?

donairs, hotdogs, and mini donuts. The smell of fried food we all know we shouldn’t eat, but secretly relish in enjoying.

We are inviting vendors for different food. And for now we know we have…home baked goods. Love home baked goods. The banana bread, zucchini loaf, cookies, pies and squares we all take home in two’s so we can eat one to ourselves, and serve the other to guests so they think we baked (or at least I do LOL).

Stroll down the middle of the road.

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Cars now…but wait!

There is something to be said about being able to stroll down the middle of a road. One that is otherwise occupied by cars. That feeling of seeing the road as something different than a path for cars. It is now a place to greet people, stop and have a chat. Seeing the businesses that line the sidewalks with their doors open letting the cool Merritt Summer Nights Market air in after the sweltering summer heat has eased off. I don’t know about you, but I always feel more prone to walking in to a business with the door wide open. Almost like they are inviting you to come in and browse without pressure. Somehow it seems friendlier, and I find it’s amazing how such a small gesture subconsciously makes you want to go inside.

 

Let’s get this going! Participate in the Merritt Summer Nights Market!

We are just starting out. We’ll see if we can attract all the amazing small businesses, nonprofit orgs, the delicious food vendors and music to make this a small town success in our town of Merritt. Join us in making this Friday night event a success!

I invite you, I encourage you, to come down to Quilchena Avenue and enjoy a Merritt Summer Night Market. Shop all the local businesses, come for the food, the fresh produce, and some great finds, but stay for the experience. The experience of the Nicola Valley!

See you there!

 

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Merritt Canada Art Walk 2018

Merritt Canada Art Walk 2018

“If you want to collect the beads for a bracelet, come early!”

Time to get out and see our local artists! July 3rd to July 31st.

We are excited to begin Art Walk 2018 in downtown Merritt! We want to show off the local art and culture. Our art walk this year has 19 artists Art Walk participating in several mediums.

  • painting on canvas
  • stone painting
  • tile painting
  • photography 
  • mixed media 
  • fabric art 
  • woodwork 
  • and pebble art! 

Seventeen businesses, services, and our Courthouse Arts Gallery are hosting the artists and supporting both the Chamber of Commerce and the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council.

In its sixth year, the Art Walk attracts community members and visitors alike. Our community is introduced to artists new to the local scene and well-known favorites. And some locals pop in to see businesses they haven’t visited yet.

Our visitors enjoy a walk around our downtown, seeing both sides-art and business.

Art Walks are everywhere!

One of the benefits of our Merritt Art Walk, is hearing the stories of other Art Walks elsewhere! From big to small, the opportunity to connect art to the workings of a town or city is a big attraction. Some of the people we meet are Art Walk buffs, and travel to different communities to take in the art scene.

There are communities with themes, like local landscapes. And contests for prizes, from the businesses for art pieces. And event hook ups like art auctions and dinners.

We love to visit Art Walks when we are visiting other towns, but our favorite is our own, in Merritt, Canada.

How about a Bead Bracelet incentive?

Art WalkIf you have heard, or read this in time, or if you participated locally last year, you know that 100 lucky people can buy a silver bracelet at the first stop at Community Futures on Voght, on the first day (or until they are gone). And at each of the locations they receive a bead, or charm, to add to the bracelet. When you are done they have a beautiful charm bracelet memento for the art walk.

I’ve seen all the 2018 beads and they are something! From the medical symbol (the caduceus) to a tiny cup and saucer, to a t shirt bead, Jeanine at Vision Quest has done a great job matching up beads to the businesses they are located in.

One, a rainbow bead, even symbolizes a town issue from several months ago, making the bracelet a topical one for 2018.

So, Who’s Matched Up?

Art Walk

Joan Jennings

1. Joan Jennings, a mixed media art quilter, is showing her new work at Community Futures. She loves to experiment with surface design variations, and try new things in her art form. Joan was inspired by her travels this year, and her art is colorful and lively!

2. Joel Reid, a prolific local artist, has his work in the office at the Civic Centre. He has a unique art style, with a graphic quality and signature of urban graffiti. He works in charcoal, acrylics, oils, and spray paint. Joel is also working on several community art pieces we hope will be on display soon.

3. Cindilla Trent, Pat Tombe, and Bev Veale are showing 3 kinds of art at the Courthouse Arts Gallery– fabric art, unique wooden bowl, and paintings respectively. Cindilla’s detailed and beautiful quilts are just one of her art forms. She also works with clay, mosaics, and beads (in the Gallery Shop). Pat Tombe creates unique wooden pieces- bowls, plates, and hollow forms. He adds embellishments such as carving, pyrography, dye, paint, and texturing. Our Bev Veale, painting in the valley for decades, and active for years in our arts community, has a summer collection of paintings and drawings on the Gallery Walls.

Despite the Odds

Art Walk

Wyatt Collins

4. Wyatt Collins, a 20-year old aspiring Nlaka’pamux artist, is at the Kekuli Cafe. Wyatt, despite having autism, is overcoming the odds and has discovered his unique style in Abstract Expressionism. He uses fluid form and drip painting techniques. This show includes some new pictograph work.

5. Glenn and Susan Parkinson, creators of glass art images, are at the Interior Savings Credit Union. They work in a variety of styles, including fractured glass mosaics, leaded stained glass, and fused glass.

6. Vicki Strom, a weaver, spinner, and potter, is displaying her creative garment weaving at the Community Policing Office. Vicki has studied the Sauri weaving art form in Japan, from the master Kenzo Jo, and brings the concept to her own pieces.

Connection with Nature

Art Walk

Natalie Rostad Desjarlais

7. Natalie Rostad-Desjarlais, a mixed media artist working with stone, natural pigments and canvas

painting, is at Earthwalker Spiritual Shop. Through her stone paintings and work, Natalie shows her connection with nature. She harvests and makes her own pigments from earth and stone, as well as using acrylics.

8. Fran McMurchy, a painter working primarily in watercolor, is at Espresso, Etc. Fran loves the feel of the watercolor and its soft color layers, but also uses acrylics with its bold and intense colors. She enjoys using both mediums.

9. Gale Simpson, a paint artist inspired on her walks and hikes. is at Lynda’s Cafe. Trees, birds, and animals fill her acrylic paintings. Gale, always interested in painting, began taking art classes when she retired.

10. Lori Desy and Jill Fitzer, with their popular pebble art, are at Black’s Pharmacy. They started making pictures for family and friends as gifts. Collecting their materials by hand. Jill and Lori spend hours lakeshores, river banks, and seaside beaches.

11. Renee Bauwens, a local painter using acrylics and watercolors, is at Spaner and Webb. Renee teaches art to children, initiating the Art Buds class at the Gallery. She also is creating digital paintings as home decor art to be sold internationally online.

Artists as Entrepreneurs

Art Walk

Pauline Ouellet

12. Pauline Ouellet, an artist working in oil, acrylic, colored ink and watercolor, is at Vision Quest. Her intimacy with Canadian landscapes evident in her work, Pauline has developed a passion for the mountains, valleys, and seascapes of British Columbia. She also makes hand painted jewelry.

13. Mordichai, musician, filmmaker, and artist, is at Breathe Bikes. Mordichai was the editorial cartoonist for the old Merritt News. Currently Mordichai enjoys multi -media expressions, including digital and oil painting, and things that fall in between.

14. Jean Kiegerl, an artist working with watercolor, acrylics and oils, is at Home Hardware. She finds an amazing array of colors in everyday objects. She says that educating her mind to see and then create that vision artistically is a never-ending cycle. Jean often gives classes for painters, and teaches drawing.

Capturing Journeys and Life Experiences

Art Walk

Faye Gustafson

15. Faye Gustafson, an experienced artist working in oil on canvas, is at Purity Feed. She paints people,

animals, and symbolic objects within their environment to capture their journeys and life experiences. Her goal is to expose the emotion and character that is daily life. Faye often teaches art to children and is giving a local painting summer camp at the Gallery.

16. Angelina Brooymans, a nature photographer, is at Save On Foods. Black and white images are her favorite medium, but she does color as well. Angelina also produces museum quality giclee prints, and helps other local artists by photographing and printing their art.

17. Diane Kiernan‘s work, creating beauty through painting, is at Nicola Valley Museum and Archives. Diane lived a creative life, from large murals to intricate tole painting, fabric art and jewelry making, gardening and decorating homes. Diane’s Art Walk show this year is curated by her daughter, Stephanie Kiernan.

Merritt Art Walk 2018

“I’m guided by my objective to leave parts of this world more loved, and more beautiful, and to leave a gentle footprint on precious Mother Earth”. Diane Kiernan

Art Walk

Diane Kiernan

We probably won’t be bringing a stylish red car like the one Diane is seen with here. Most Art Walkers put on their comfy shoes and head out with friends. Three of our locations are cafe’s, so there are even refreshments to buy along the way, while you are enjoying the art! Support our local artists, and businesses!

Come and join us on our Merritt Art Walk 2018!

And if you want to collect the beads for a bracelet, come early! Starts Tuesday, July 3rd.