Art Shows in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery: Show of Shows 

Art Shows in Merritt BC at the Gallery for the last five years

Art Shows in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery: Show of Shows Photo Credit Kim Leclair

Art Shows in Merritt BC and on the walls of the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery is the Show of Shows exhibition, the posters from 55 art shows since May 2017.  That was when I became the Gallery Director in Merritt BC and began curating art from the valley in a variety of exhibits, featuring all local artists. All local except the artists in two 2017 shows. 

Showing the creativity and art from our own Nicola Valley is one of the missions of the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council. And that mission is a passion of mine, to gather a diversity of art expressions in a variety of art shows.

Art shows in Merritt BC from young and old…

The 55 shows have brought the art of all ages to our small Gallery. We recently had clay sculptures and paintings from an after school art class with children as young as seven years.

And two of the many shows featured Bev Veale, who is still painting and drawing as she turns 86 years old. And Bev is not the only artist in the area who continues to create well into their retirement. Some retirees are just beginning their artistic path! 

Posters as art…

Bees in the Nicola Valley

The Bee Show, Poster by Kim Leclair

For each show, except one, local artist Kim Leclair has put together images provided her to create a poster that is art itself. Kim uses her digital skills to promote art shows in Merritt BC in posters which are printed to post around town, and in digital form to use in all our social media. 

The posters for each show are now on display on the walls of our small town Gallery, framed informally with bright wooden and metal frames. As people enter the Gallery the show posters take them on a sequential journey down memory lane around the four walls. 

We have put on about ten shows a year, each about five weeks, some longer and some shorter. Each art show has a story about its inspiration, the artists and submissions, and its time in the community.

Winter Art Show

6th Winter Artisan Show at the Nicola Valley Arts Centre Photo Credit Kim Leclair

Our month long Winter Artisan Show, since 2016

One corner of the Gallery is filled with the Winter Artisan posters, a popular yearly event since 2016. Artists and artisans, who are not already a part of our adjoining Gift Shop, are invited to display their art and wares for the local and traveling public. From local honey, to hand spun scarves, to art on the wall, there is something for everyone during the festive season.

The artists and artisans who participate have often already been a part of one of our Gallery shows.

We feature individual artists, two person shows, invite shows with several artists, and community shows where everyone in the Nicola Valley can submit a piece or two for the show. 

Art Show Stories

Each show curated has stories of its inspiration, its execution, and the personal accounts of the artist(s) and the art…

Some shows are touching in their topics, like the Memories and Mandalas Show, honouring over 30 artists and creatives who have passed in our valley. Hearing the stories of the submissions for this show was both emotional and fascinating. It was a very personal show for me, as I set up a display for my thirty year partner, a creative writer well known in our community, Gordon Cockle. Gord was a writer, a journalist, and a natural comedian and poet. I held his memorial during this show, a quiet affair in the middle of our Covid shutdown.

Another, The Murray Church Show, lamented the burning of a well know historic church a few kilometres out of town. The show acknowledged the memories of so many people in the community and beyond

This was a community art show in Merritt BC, by the community, and about our community. And the stories were from far and wide. We had Murray Church art on display: oils, pastels, watercolours, and sketches, both recent and from long ago. We had lots of photos of the church: inside and out, past pastors, and events, as well as art photography. There were collages, storyboards, stories, newspaper clippings, brochures, and past posters.

Linda Baird of the Trinity United Church, along with Amrit Samra, gathered much of the historical material for this wonderful show. We held a story telling evening…

This is a favourite poster of mine, because of Kim Leclair’s depiction of the church, gone…

Murray Church Art Show Poster

Murray Church Art Show Poster. Photo Credit Kim Leclair

The church has since been rebuilt, complete with stained glass by local artists Susan and Glenn Parkinson.

Art During Covid, Inspiring

Art During Covid

Art During Covid: Creativity Persists Photo credit Kim Leclair

Our Art of Covid: Creativity Persists Community Show was surprisingly beautiful. We held this show in early 2021, during our months of careful protocols. We weren’t sure what to expect but the creativity that people brought forward was full of beauty and inspiration, as well as art expressing unsurprising frustration.

Soon after our 2021 fires and floods, causing wide spread evacuations and regional, community, and personal devastation, we put a call out for a show about our pets and creatures, Creature Comforts. I heard so many stories about the care that our people took to save their pets and their livestock in our ranch and rural community. The stories were harsh, or sweet, and once again, inspirational. The art submitted gave people an opportunity to tell their stories of  flood and fire experiences when they came in to see the show. 

Those stories are still going on. Lasting effects.

Youth Art in Meritt BC

Coming Home Show, Youth Art. Photo Credit Kim Leclair

Our Merritt High School Seniors Art Shows in Merritt BC

The Youth POV…

Every year now, the local High School, Merritt Senior Secondary has a spring show with us, put together from their art class projects with teacher, Shannon Dunn.

This year the show, Coming Home, was a poignant mix of art and writing, expressing the experiences of the students during the fires and floods of 2021, most experiencing weeks-long evacuations and many the destruction of their homes. Still ongoing displacement…

Quotes from the students, about their art, and life…

“There is whimsy in everyday still life…”

“Children shouldn’t have to sacrifice their childhoods to survive.”

“I enjoy drawing simple things that bring me joy and peace.”

“People can feel isolated from each other even when being surrounded.”

“…to fly without boundaries, to explore without obligations.”

“Look closely, can you see starts on the window of her eye? They represent calmness and curiosity.”

“…that nostalgic feeling which envelops you in a warm blanket of comfort and reminiscence.”

Art Show Fun

We love to include the creative expressions and talents in different areas that are not always recognized in a small town gallery. 

Like the shoe show, Shoe Fabulous! Fun! It was inspired by Jean Kiegerl and her fab collection of shoes. We learned, during the call out for that show. who in our community has amazing shoe collections! Gorgeous and fun displays of shoes as well as shoe paintings, 3d mixed media on the paths we take, bronzed baby shoes, and firemen’s boots. We even had a little shoe shop in the back… Unforgettable!

Our Body Art: Living Art of Tattoo and Body Adornment art shows in Merritt BC displayed the work of our two tattoo artists in town, as well as airbrush, hair and makeup art. We posted body art images from around the world. I was inspired to take the plunge and designed arm band tattoos for myself that summer. Definitely fun!

Showcasing Different Talents in our Community

Art Shows in Merritt BC

Artof Sound Poster by Kim Leclair. Photo
by Jano Howarth

We enjoyed putting on a show, Wild! Flies, Skins, and Skulls, for the amazing fly tie artists in our fishing community. The beautiful work of internationally known fly tier Peter McVey (now past) of Corbett Lake Lodge, and others, brought in a whole different audience to our art show. We combined the fly tieing submissions with a bit of local taxidermy and skulls from a variety of creatures found in our surrounding valleys. We held a skull painting workshop around Halloween for that show! Fun!

Another fun show was our Art of Sound. We asked artists, musicians, creatives to express this theme in a variety of ways. So besides art of painting and drawings, we had Amrit Ahuja’s sound wave of the phrase “I love you.” framed. People brought interactive instruments and the Gallery was filled with sound, visual and literal.

I brought in a record player to play our fav LP’s. And I traded artist Robert Moretti my Janis Joplin vinyl for his jukebox painting. A great trade…

Jukebox Art

Got this in trade for a Janis Joplin vinyl Photo Credit Jano Howarth

Individual Artist Shows

My first individual artist show, in June 2017, was Leonard George, a very creative indigenous artist I had known for years. It was a retrospective show, with work he had done over the years collected from various private collections, with a few new works mixed in for purchase.

Art Shows in Merritt

Local Artist Jean Kiegerl and Twin Willows Photo Credit Kim Leclair

Other shows featuring a single artist: Wyatt Collins, a young artist working on big canvases, Libby Dybikowski, whose Sun. River. Mountain piece takes up a big space on one of my home walls, and Fred Tomlin, who’s stunning wood and mirror work surprised the community. Most of it.

Artist Michelle Lonsdale, with her show Wondernatural, also plays for us at Open Mic Nights and has taken up delicate tattoo art.

 And Jean Kiegerl, Cassandra Dolen and Shirley Reynolds, all experienced and dedicated artists we are fortunate to have in our community. 

So many I have been fortunate to work with. Inspiring artists in our small town community…

Living Legends…

Art Shows in Merritt BC

Living Legends Art Show. Photo credit Kim Leclair

A fav young graffiti style artist, Joel Reid, helps me put up a lot of the art shows. At 6′ 4″ if he’s there, I don’t need a ladder. He named one of our art shows in BC Merritt, when I told him who was coming, Living Legends. Long time artists instrumental in guiding our arts community for years, Pius Chong, Evelyn Armstrong, and Doug Strand were joined by inspired music and art supporter and artist in her own right, Jackie Stibbards. 

Living Legends for sure, in any community. And I know that many of our up and coming artists, expressing their creativity and sharing their art with our community, will take their place as well known inspirations in our Nicola Valley.

Gratifying. It’s a blessing to pull together the fun, thoughtful, inspired work of the many artists who have participated in all of these 55 shows over the last five years.

And we are almost booked for the next two years, art shows we can all look forward to, from community themed shows to feature artists to interactive and challenging shows. 

List of  55 Art Shows in BC Merritt below, May 2017 to August 2022.

What’s happening in the Arts Council?

Jano Howarth, Arts Gallery Curator and talent fan.’

Facebook and Instagram: Jano Howarth

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Website: Meme Dreams 

55 Art Shows in Merritt BC from May 2017 to August 2022

2017

1. May 6- June 3  The Poetic Language of Landscape with Patricia Peters…

2. June 8- 24   In the Siege of Roots: A Retrospective with Leonard George

3. July 5-July 31 Art Walk with Bruce Walter and Ellen Miller

4. Aug 3- 31   Art Walk Artist’s Show 

5. Sept 1- 23   Bev Veale: A Retrospective

6. Sept 28- Oct 28   Ekphrastic: The Fibre Art Network

7. Nov 3- 18   Shoe Fabulous: A Collection from Collections Community Show with Jean Kiegerl

8. Dec 1- Jan 13   2nd Winter Artisan Show

2018

9. Jan 18- 27   Lifestyle: Clothes and Colours Community Show

10. Feb 1- Mar 3   Form, Figure, Faces Community Show

11. Mar 15-Apr 7   Wyatt’s World: An Abstract Expressionist’s Unique Perspective in Fluid Imagination with Wyatt Collins

12. Apr 19- May 12   Our Story: SD 58 Arts Festival 2018 with MSS Seniors

13. May 24- June 16   Into the Valley: Spirit, Energy, and Life with Pauline Ouelette and Natalie Rostad-Desjarlais

14. July 3- 31   Art Walk 2018 with Cindilla Trent and Pat Tombe

15. Aug 2- Sept 1   Art Walk Artists’ Show Community Show

16. Sept 6- 29   Merritt to Marrakech with Libby Dybikowski

17. Oct 11- Nov 4   Wild! Flies, Skins & Skulls Community and Invite Show

18. Nov 8-24   Wabi Sabi: Art in Imperfection with Vickie Strom

19. Nov 30- Dec 22   3rd Winter Artisan Show

2019 Art Shows in Merritt BC

20. Feb 1- Mar 2   Art of Sound: The Creative Expression of Sound Through Sound and Art Mediums

21. Mar 8- 30   Living Legends: Four Nicola Valley Artists with Pius Chong, Evelyn Armstrong, Doug Strand, Jackie Stibbards

22. Apr 5- 27   Wondernatural with Michelle Lonsdale

23.   Apr Joel Reid Art Show

24. May 2- 11   Create-Communicate-Connect with MSS Seniors

25. May 17- June 22   Forever West: A Lifestyle That Gas Never Changed with Faye Gustafson

26. June 27- July 31   Murray Church Show Community Show with Linda Baird and Peter Samra

27. Aug 9- Sept 7   Upcycle: Have Some Fun! Get Inspired! Save the Earth! Community Show

28. Sept 13 -Oct 5   Swing Into Fall Community Show

29. Oct 11- Nov 9  Fractured Reflections: The Art of Fred Tomlin

30.  4th Pop Up Winter Artisan Show and Shop

2020

31. Feb 7- Mar 14   Children in Art, Art for Children Community Show

32. Apr 5- June 13   I Love Painting! The Robert Moretti Show

33. May28 -June 13   Landscapes of the Nicola Valley with Dave Barber

34. June 19 – July 11   From the Earth Invite Show

35. July 17- Aug 22   The Bee Show Community Show with local apiarists

36. Sept 4- 26   Memories and Mandalas NVCAC Members Invite Show

37. Oct 15- Nov 14   Art for the Love of It with Jean Kiegerl and Twin Willows

38. Nov 20- Dec 4   5th Annual Winter Artisan Show & Sale

2021

39. Jan 13-31   Street Art! Community Show

40. Feb 3-Mar 7   Art During Covid: Creativity Persists Community Show

41. Mar 10- Apr 11   Looking Forward Now with Cindilla Trent and Kim Leclair

42. Apr 14- May 2   Unmasked: MSS Graduating Show

43. May 5-23   Clubhouse Art Show with Members of CMHA

44. May 26- June 27   Pencil Paintings with Judy Young

45. June 30- Aug 1   Body Art: Living Art of Tattoo and Body Adornment Community Show

46. Aug 4- Sept 5   Art of Clothing: Creative Fashion Community Show

47. Sept 8- Oct 10   Merritt Naturally: Discover Nature at Our Doorstep with Frank Ritcey and Bruce Walter

48. Oct 13- Nov 7   Baskets and Bowls with Evelyn Armstrong and Andrew Ruigrok

49. Nov 13- Dec 24   6th Annual Winter Artisan Show & Sale

And this year, 2022 Art Shows in Merritt BC

50. Jan 26- Mar 13   Creature Comforts Community Show

51. Mar 16- Apr 10   Kevin Griffiths: Flora, Fauna, Facility

52. Apr 13- May 1   Bev Veale: Reminiscences

53. May 5- June 5   Shirley Reynolds: Colour Personified

54. May 8-26   Coming Home with the MSS Seniors

55. June 29- Aug 7   Food for Thought Community show

56. Aug 11 – Sept 11   Show of Shows Curated by Jano Howarth, Posters by Kim Leclair

Art Shows in Merritt BC

Artists, Artisans, Art Gallery in the Nicola Valley

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Artists in Merritt BC – Bev Veale

Bev Veale, Local Artisan and Homesteader

Kinnikinic Homestead LTD

Bev Veale, Artist and Homesteader. Photo Credit Jano Howarth.

Bev Veale, local artist and homesteader, and a creative and committed contributor to our Nicola Valley community for decades…

Artists in Merritt BC – Bev Veale. Bev has created art and supported other artists in the Nicola Valley for decades.

She was a part of the Valley Visual Artists Group and is an Honorary Member of the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council. Bev frequents the Arts Centre, participating in gallery shows and contributing art books, supplies and her experience. Bev has been painting the landscapes of the Nicola Valley for many years.

Artists in Merritt BC focus

Drawing and painting, especially with watercolours and water based oils, are Bev’s focuses. She also draws and sketches with pencil and watercolour pencil crayons. But over the years, Bev has immersed herself in trying different mediums, like wood carving. Her favourite subjects are our Nicola Valley landscapes, our flowers and wildlife – depicting the golden hills, meadows, mountains, streams and flowers around us. 

Artists in Merritt BC – Bev Veale has an impressive collection of art books and magazines, a lifelong passion. Bev continues to study art, draw and paint. Her latest Gallery show was at the Nicola Valley Arts Centre in April 2022, Bev Veale Reminiscences.

Artists of Merritt

Bev Veale Reminiscences Art Show. Photo Credit Jano Howarth.

Artists of Merritt, BC

The Veale family here in the Nicola Valley since the early 1900’s.

The Veale family has lived in our Nicola Valley since the early 1900’s. Bev’s grandfather, John Veale, homesteaded at a property on Skuhun Creek, west of Merritt, while Bev’s family, parents Jack and Curly Veale and their five children, settled at Okanagan Landing near Vernon.

Bev’s story of art …

Bev specialized in art and aquatics during her school years and spent four years in the Air Cadets. That led to nine years with the Canadian Air Force as a Recreation Specialist. Bev spent time at bases in Canada, and then 3 years in Germany, during the 1st Cold War.

After she left the military in the mid 60’s, Bev spent the next years in the Nicola Valley and at her family’s homestead, then at the University of Victoria, and worked as a Recreation Supervisor with the City of Vernon for seven years. In 1978, Bev came back to our valley and took over and managed the Veale homestead for over twenty years.

Bev Veale, artist

Bev as a girl, middle. Photo credit Bev Veale.

Kinnikinic

Bev’s Business, the Kinnikinic Homestead. Photo credit Bev Veale.

Kinnikinic Homestead

Most of Bev’s years there were spent setting up and running the Kinnikinic Homestead LTD, a business inviting people from all over BC and beyond, to experience homestead life in the Nicola Valley.

With help from family, friends and the people from the nearby Shackan Reserve, Bev ended up over time with a log lodge, a cottage, three cabins, a root cellar, a shop, and campsites, all around The Field, which was home to her own horses and horses arriving with Kinnikinic guests.

Bev's Family

Photo credit Bev Veale.

Log Cabin in Merritt, BC

Kinnikinic Cabin in winter. Photo credit Bev Veale.

Bev Veale, Merritt Resident and Artist

Bev, at times, helped to keep the Kinnikinic Homestead going with part time employment at Chataway Lakes and subbing as a teacher in the local schools. When the Homestead property passed out of her hands, Bev moved right into the town of Merritt, where she worked with the Merritt News until she retired.

Currently Artists in Merritt BC – Bev Veale has a family homestead and art display at the Nicola Valley Museum and Archives.

"<yoastmark    Bev Veale, Museum Display

Bev’s homestead and art display. Photo Credit Nicola Valley Museum.

Bev Veale’s Museum Reception, Family and Friends

"<yoastmark

Bev’s Family at her Museum Reception. Photo Credit Jano Howarth.

Artist of Merritt BC, Bev Veale

Family and friends, at Bev Veale’s Homestead display. Photo Credit Jano Howarth.

Thanks Bev!

Be sure to visit the museum in Merritt. Lots to see…

It’s summer! Last year’s summer art shows at the Gallery.

Jano Howarth, Arts Gallery Curator and talent fan.’

Facebook and Instagram: Jano Howarth

Facebook: Creative Community 

Website: Meme Dreams 

Artists of Merritt, BCBev Veale with artist Shirley Reynolds. Photo credit Jano Howarth. Bev Veale, Artist of Merritt, BCNicola Valley Snake Fence, Private Collection. Photo credit Jano Howarth. Art Gallery Reception, Merritt, BCBev’s Art Show Reception with friends and fans. Photo credit Jano Howarth.

Thanks to the Nicola Valley Museum and Archives for putting on this great display of Bev Veale’s art and homesteading history in the valley. 

And thanks to all of Bev’s supporters, recognizing her art and contributions to the valley.

Nicola Valley Museum and Archives

Museum Manager, Cameron Bridge. Photo Credit Jano Howarth.

Bev Veale, Artist of Merritt BC

Bev with Suzanne, local patron of the arts, who acquired a Bev Veale painting years ago. Photo Credit Jano Howarth.

Artists in Merritt BC – Bev Veale

Celebrating local art in the Nicola Valley

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

 

Nicola Valley Food Bank

Not Just  a Food Bank

Serving the Community on Merritt BC Canada

One of the more important social services in Merritt is the Nicola Valley Food Bank.  Therefore this organization is instrumental in filling a gap where people have to decide between shelter or food.  There are many people in the Merritt area who do not have enough financial support or low paying jobs that can’t make ends meet and therefore rely on the Nicola Valley Food Bank located in Downtown Merritt BC Canada.

 

Nicola Valley Food Bank Shelving

Nicola Valley Food Bank Shelving–Tom Reynolds Photo

The Program of the Nicola Valley Food Bank

Of course the main function of the Nicola Valley Food Bank is to provide nutritious food to those in need.  However, there is more to the food bank than just the delivery of food.   The food bank has created many successful partnerships in both the non profit sector and the business sector. It is these alliances that  go along way to make the system work.

Sharing with other organizations

One of the organizations the Food Bank works with is Ask Wellness  which is a national program to help improve the lives of people.  One of their major focuses in Merritt is the housing component.  Many of Ask Wellness’s clients also are those of the Nicola Valley Food Bank.  By working together the two groups can see that the clients are properly fed with nutritious food.

The Merritt Soup Kitchen is another group that the Food Bank Deals with.  Sometimes one organization or other will get a donation of food that is greater than can be used immediately and therefore there is an exchange of the excess so nothing goes to waste.

School District 58 and Strong Start work with the  Food Bank to provide food for the Strong Start Program.

The Business Community is on Board

Certainly, the major grocery stores are on board with the food bank.  When Wal Mart, No Frills and Save-on-Foods have products that are reaching their “best before date” they send them to the food bank.  While these items are ending their retail life they still are OK to eat.  While these big companies are contributing greatly there are a number of other businesses that chip in such as Starbucks, Dollar Tree, Pharmasave, A&W an now Mr Mikes.

No Frills Supports Food BsankNo Frills Supports Food Bank
Dollar Tree Supports Food Bank

Dollar Tree Supports Food Bank

A&W Supports the Food BankA&W Supports the Food Bank Mr Mikes Supports the Food Bank
Save on foods supports Foo Bank

Save on foods supports Foo Bank

 
Walmart Supports Food BankWalmart Supports Food Bank Starbucks supports Food BankStarbucks supports Food Bank Pharmasave Supports the Food BankPharmasave Supports the Food Bank

Nicola Valley Food Bank Staffing and Volunteers

The success of any not for profit is in its staff and volunteers and the Food Bank is no exception.  Derlanda Hewton is the General manager and her enthusiasm and vision have filtered to the staff and volunteers.

At the time of my visit to the Food Bank, the following were the staff and volunteers.  Vanya Beck was the Administration assistant and intake person.  She has a reassuring personality that works well with the clients.

Keith Walliser is on the food desk and he brings a world of knowledge to the Nicola Valley Food Bank because of his many years in the grocery store business.  Also on staff are Edwin Feldman, inventory Clerk and Henry Krause, Driver.

Volunteers are Georgina Johnny, driver and on call, Brenda Fahlman and Rosemary McNeil, both portion control.  Finally, we have Ashley Davey.

Fund Raising

Like most non profits fund raising brings a significant amount of money (or food) for the operation of the  Food Bank.  Therefore community groups such as the Merritt Centennials put on food drives during their season.  Out right donations from people are also greatly appreciated

This year the Food Bank participated in a national fund raising event called the “Coldest Night of the Year”.  Consequently this fund raiser is catching on and should be bigger next year. The Centennials supported this event in a big way.

21-22 Merritt Centennials

21-22 Merritt Centennials-Tom Reynolds Photo

Future Plans for the Nicola Valley Food Bank

The current location of the Nicola Valley Food Bank is strategically located to serve its clientele but unfortunately it is too small to meet the needs of the organization and therefore are looking for a larger space.

They wish to add an education centre to teach things such as selecting nutritious foods, cooking nutritious foods and household budgeting.

In addition they need more space for preparing the Christmas hampers.  Each year they have had to go and find a space that is large enough for this task and be reasonably priced (free is best).

Lastly, these are ambitious goals and if you want to be apart of that apply to be on the Board of Directors or take all the action in by volunteering at the Food Bank.  Call Derlanda Hewton at 250.378.2282.

Nicola Valley Food Bank

Merritt British Columbia Canada

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

Show Poster

Show Poster-Merritt Printing design

 

 

Colour Personified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Art Show in Merritt BC will be held from May 5, 2022 to June 5, 2022 at the Nicola Valley Arts Centre.  

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds-Tom Reynolds Photo

Shirley Reynolds Art Show in Merritt

Shirley got her art career off to a great start when she was just a toddler.  Her dad had painted her bedroom but apparently it was a little too boring for her so she took an indelible pencil and drew on the wall.  As you can imagine Shirley’s father was not impressed but took the time to explain to her that drawing on the wall was not appropriate. After this discussion he repainted the offending wall. However, awhile later he came back to find that his artist daughter had “improved” the wall again. From that point on she was hooked with painting and has spent over six decades perfecting her craft.

Landscapes in the Art Show in Merritt BC

Many artists over the years tend to develop a signature style that is associated with them.  While her paintings have grown in complexity over the years she has not settled into a specific style.  Each painting is unique, just like the artist, herself.  When we go camping she loves to bring paints so she can capture the scenery where ever we may be.

Tree at the lake

Reynolds Photo

Harmon Lake

Harmon Lake-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Still lifes ” in the Art show in Merritt BC

As I said before, Shirley’s style is different for nearly every painting.  However, there is one aspect to her paintings that is consistent and that is the use of brilliant colours.  This definitely comes out when she does a “still life” as you can see in the examples below.

Flowers in Pot

Flowers in Pot-Tom Reynolds Photo

F

Flowers-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

Abstracts in the Art Show in Merritt BC

As I said earlier Shirley does not have just one style that identifies her work.  I believe her paintings come from her soul so you never know what you are going to get until she puts her inspiration to paper.  While she does a large part of her work on landscapes she has begun to dabble in abstracts.  However her use of colour flows through these as well.

Geometric abstract

Geometric Abstract-Tom Reynolds Photo

movement abstracts

Movement Abstracts-Tom Reynolds photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressionism Style is at the Art Show in Merritt, BC

Sometimes the inspiration for a subject matter requires that the objects are less defined but you get the sense of the painting.  Below are examples of Shirley using this style.

Fall Colours

Fall Colours-Tom Reynolds Photo

Fall Tree

Fall Tree-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting is not all she does

While her primary artistic endeavor is painting, her creativity is expressed  in almost everything she does. On several occasions she has set her hand to doing mosaics.  Apparently it is handy to save your broken cups and saucers because you never know when the need to do a mosaic will come. Also you may come across something that would make a great base for your project such as a ball.

Mosaic Globe

Mosaic Globe-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 
Mosaic Tea Cups

Mosaic Tea Cups-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She still hasn’t finished  experimenting with different mediums as she and her daughter, Andrea are going to try their hand at pottery.  

Her artistic talents have also stirred her interest in interior decorating.  Along with the items she is displaying, she has upped the ambiance of the show by providing colourful props that support the art work.

Support the Art Show in Merritt BC

Supporting the art show is one way of ensuring that the arts will be alive and well in Merritt.  When you sign the register this provides evidence to the funding partners that the activity is valued by the community and tourists alike. While you are at the show you can browse the gift shop and help support local artists and the Arts Council.  It is also a good time to check out the programs that are offered.  

 

Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

 

 

BC Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

BC Flood and Fire Relief – It has been awhile since the disastrous floods and fires in Southern BC.  At this point in time it seems that the plight of the people affected by these events have been forgotten. However there still is a significant need. Provincial disaster relief is slow in coming and in all likelihood will not be sufficient to cover all the costs incurred.  As well, many people who thought they were insured weren’t.

BC Fire and Floods a Reminder

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I want to remind everyone what happened in Merritt, Lytton, Princeton, and Abbotsford. 

Merritt Flood Nov 2021

Merritt Flood Nov 2021  – Photo Courtesy of  Global News

Abbotsford Floods – Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Lockhart

Lytton Fire 2021

Lytton Fire 2021 – Photo Courtesy of CTV News

Recovery from these events is a long ways away but the people need your help now.

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

The Hell or High Water concert/help-a-thon is a massive undertaking. The organizing  group has put together an amazing group of artists to entertain you and to encourage you to help out.  For the 12 hour period, starting on March 13, 2022 at 10:00AM there will be appearances of over 50 Artists and another 25 or so dignitaries. To see where you can tune in to watch the Hell or High Water Fundraiser please go to the website. You can follow along and donate on participating websites, social media and, maybe even, TV. 

The great thing about this concert is that the overhead has been kept as low as possible so your donation goes to the fire  and flood relief victims.  The organizers  are donating their time and expertise, the artists are donating their performances and all prizes have been donated.

You may want to know who is behind the fund raiser for fire and flood relief. The “Brothers of Tourism” at EH Canada Travel, Kenny Hess (Founder of Rockin’ River Music Festival), the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly, Tourism Nicola Valley, Experience Nicola Valley and the Rotary Club of Merritt are all proud to step up and present the “Hell or High Water Fundraiser”.

Hell or Highwater Entertainers

Obviously with over 50 performers I won’t be covering them all but you can be sure that everyone is a top caliber performer and you will enjoy every minute of it.

The lineup includes musicians from all genres with a large tribute to Country and Western.  This is not surprising because this fire and flood relief concert originated from the Country Music Capital of Canada, Merritt BC.  For the full list of Artists you can go to www.hellorhighwater.ca .

Just to get you excited here is but a few people performing for you, George Canyon, Patricia Conroy, Big and Rich, Kenny Hess, Karen Lee Batten, David Gogo, Jackson Hollow, Lisa Brokop,  Duane Steele and Beverley Mahood.  If old time rock and roll is more your thing then you can stay tuned for Chilliwack or Loverboy.

Fire and Flood Relief Prizes

To encourage you to donate to the fire and flood relief concert, Hell or High Water, you can win a valuable prize.  When you donate you can pick the prize that you want to win. You will automatically get 3 chances at the draw and then you get to earn other chances at your draw.  So it is actually better to donate early so your chances of winning become a little bit better.

What can you win?  There are prizes for every taste from Canucks tickets, Rockin River Tickets or a stay at a beautiful cabin on Glimpse Lake near Merritt, BC.

I am an art fan and have to say there is an amazing painting by Canadian Artist, David Langevin that has a retail value of over $8,000. So this will not only be a great addition to your home but also be a great investment in one of Canada’s foremost artists.

Melting at Moraine

Melting at Moraine-David Langevin Art

The Flood and Fire Relief Victims Need Help!

The crisis is not over!  The victims of the fire and flood need your support. The Hell or High Water Concert help-a-thon is the perfect place to provide that support.  You are not only helping your neighbours but you’re a getting a great day of music.  Also you will be entertained plus have the chance to win a great prize.  You can also direct your donation to a specific community.  Let’s all get on board.

 

Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

 

 

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Homes in Merritt BC Canada

A House for Everyone In The Nicola Valley

The history of housing in Merritt in the Nicola Valley

Homes in Merritt BC Canada vary greatly and are impacted by the various stages of its development when non indigenous settlers arrived in the Nicola Valley in the last 1800s.  The primary focus was on ranching.  However, when the turn of the century arrived the discovery of coal brought an increase demand for housing.  As a result the village of Merritt was established in 1911.

In this blog you will see pictures of many styles of homes that have appeared in the Nicola Valle over the past 120 years or so.  None of the homes pictured are for sale but they will give you a good idea of what is available.

Small Homes in Merritt BC Canada

The discovery of coal resulted in the need for housing for the miners and their families.  As was the case in most mining towns this need was met by building small economical homes.  The downtown area of Merritt BC still has many of these homes today.  They are generally around 90 Square meters (800 sq ft). They are mostly 2 bedrooms and one bathroom.  As well, they are usually on a good size city lot.

 

Small Homes in Merritt BC Canada

Small Cottage #2-Tom Reynolds Photo

small cottage #1

Small Cottage #1-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housing styles change in the Nicola Valley

Coal mining had a short period of activity from the turn of the 20th century to the 1950’s.  However the decline started in the 30’s.  While coal mining was fading out, forestry began to become more important.

Unfortunately there was a problem in the early going and the City of Merritt decided to bail out one of the mills and provided a significant loan.  This created a difficulty for the City as the United States put up tariffs on lumber that forced the mill into a bankruptcy that took the City with it.  Therefore, growth was slow during this period with the housing remaining small and simpler in design.

Bigger Homes were on the way

While forestry was becoming more important to the city during the 40’s, the actual boom started in 1958 when the Craigmont Mine opened in 1958 and was followed in 1962 by Highland Copper Mine (current mine name).  This period saw the opening of the “Bench” subdivision which sits above downtown on a hill.  At first the homes in Merritt BC Canada at this time were not fancy but were bigger than downtown.

 

Bench Homes in Merritt BC Canada

Bench Housing-Tom Reynolds Photo

The Coquihalla Highway Arrives

In the mid seventies growth was slow.  However, the announcement in the early eighties of a new highway connecting the lower mainland (Vancouver BC) to the interior generated a lot of excitement in the area beyond any previous period.  Expansion of subdivisions on the “Bench” were complemented with others in the south and east.

Bench Home

Bench Home-Tom Reynolds Photo

South Area homes in merritt bc canada

South Area Home-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homes in Merritt BC continues to grow

Not much happened after 1996 as the area’s growth stalled.  There was some subdivision activity in the early 2000’s but not much building took place.  However, by 2018, house prices in the Vancouver area was making it difficult for young families to afford a home. Also at that time it was a great opportunity for seniors to cash in and get affordable homes in Merritt BC as well.

This pressure from the lower mainland has created a huge demand which has spurred on a major building frenzy.  Unfortunately it also has driven prices up to a point where Merritt has lost most of its price advantage.  For example, the million dollar home was not known in this area, but now there are lots of them, particularly along the riverside.

This is the type of home that is being built now.

New Home

New Home-Tom Reynolds Photo

Riverside Home

Riverside home-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Nicola Valley Housing styles

This article has focused on the single family market but there are many other homes in Merritt BC for consideration such as condos, rental apartments, townhouses and mobile homes.  Perhaps another time I will discuss these options.

This blog is brought to you by Tourism Nicola Valley as part of their award winning program-Experience Nicola Valley.  

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Summer Art Shows in Merritt BC

Clothing and Body Art Shows Liven Up Gallery

Body Art Shows in Merritt BC

Poster for Body Art Show

Body Embellishments and Wearable Art 

Summer Art Shows in Merritt, BC, at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery, brought out the creativity of different artists in our community. They were just another great example of how resilient artists are during Covid

Body Art Shows in Merritt

For our Body Art Show in July, our tattoo, airbrush, and henna artists displayed their work with flair and personality. The hair stylists and makeup artists pushed the boundaries even further which just upped the level of fun in the show.

The Talent

During our fun opening reception several guests had hand henna art done by Prianne Dhesa, or temporary body art by Amy Maclaren. Photos of celebrities, famous people, and locals with tattoos and wild hairstyles livened up the gallery as well. And of course we had art by several of our Nicola Valley creatives.

We enjoyed music by guitarist Steve Atlas of the local group Stratosphere. Steve had an impressive and enjoyable two hour playlist and also chatted with the art show guests. (Photo of Steve Atlas below)

Tattoo Artist

Brian Wheeler of Sin on Skin Tattoos Merritt. Photo credit: Jano Howarth

Thanks to local tattoo artists Brian Wheeler of Sin on Skin Tattoo, and Marco Merulla of Mom’s Tattoos. Beautiful, thoughtful, and fun work! I now have tats in progress from both of these tattoo masters…. (Photo of Marco Merulla below)

Art of Clothing, Creativity in Merritt BC

For our Art of Clothing Show that followed, well over a dozen local weavers, clothes designers, embroiderers, upcyclers and artists provided us with a creative display, from trench coats to hats to felted vests. We had lots of OOAK (one of a kind) pieces of clothing as well as art pieces depicting fashion. 

Wearable art for the people of the Nicola Valley and for all the visitors who stopped in to see the show.

Fires in the Valley, Art anyway…

Art of Clothing Show

Art of Clothing Show. Photo credit: Jano Howarth

From the beginning of the summer art shows in Merritt BC, until the end of our Art of Clothing show, the Nicola Valley and surrounding areas were under threat from wild fires, out of control. Artists of our two shows, our workshop instructors and Gallery volunteers were on alert and many were evacuated from their homes for days and weeks.

But we had lots of visitors through the Gallery! Despite the danger of fire and heavy smoke people traveled to the Interior of BC, risking road closures and extended stays.  People enjoyed the distraction of our local creativity and these unique shows. 

Thank you to Artists and Creative Help

Thanks to our Art of Clothing artists! Several created work just for our show. 

Thanks to our student volunteer, artist Olivia Nendick. She helped with our shows, or kids art events, and submitted pieces herself. (Photo of Olivia below)

And special thanks to our stellar summer worker, just graduated and an artist also, Karianne Kroeker. Kari tackled any job given to her, from mundane to creative.

Merritt Art Shows

Karianne Kroeker, Artist and Clothing Upcycler. Photo credit: Jano Howarth

Kari put together photo collages for the Body Art show, submitted pieces she had sewn, painted, and blinged for the Art of Clothing show. She came made up and dressed ever day for our creative space, chatted with guests and visitors, and participated in Kids Art classes. 

What Creativity is Next?

The summer art shows in Merritt BC have come to a close, but there’s no stopping creativity. In hard times or good, creativity flows. We are happy at the NVCAC to inspire and be inspired. What’s the next inspired show?

Watch here for a blog post or read a bit about it and our other art shows this year on my site on creativity, learning, and journaling Meme Dreams

Click to my blog here on Experience Nicola Valley about our move to a new location last fall, and art in Merritt, BC.

Thanks for stopping by! Remember, express yourself!

Jano Howarth

Nicola Valley Arts Centre Gallery Curator

Visit our Nicola Valley Arts website

Facebook Gallery and Gift Shop

Merritt Gallery ShowsArt of Clothing, Cindilla Trent’s felted vest Summer Art Shows MerrittArt of Clothing, Olivia Nendick Tattoo ArtistBody Art Show, Marco Merulla of Mom’s Tattoos
Body Art Show MerrittBarb Tomkinson, Maureen Lisle at Body Art Show Body Art  Steve Atlas MusicMusic Steve Atlas, Body Art Show Art of Clothing Show MerrittRichard Lepinsky Music, Art of Clothing Show
All photos provided and credit goes to Jano Howarth

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Art During Covid in Merritt BC

Creativity Persists, even in the middle of a pandemic

Our art show in February 2021 was full of light, beauty and humour

 

Art during Covid in Merritt BC helped lots of people pass the time during our lockdown and careful year.

Artists and artisans expressed how creativity, theirs and others, made the restrictions bearable. Some came regularly to our Arts Centre, with Gallery shows, a well stocked gift shop, and even our Program Space where we held very respectful events. 

We also provided the public with art classes online, as well as continuing our regular meetings via Zoom.

Special Community Art Show, Art During Covid

Art of Covid

Nancy Ellingsen art, Kim Leclair poster

In February we held a special community show, called The Art During Covid, Creativity Persists. We invited people in our Nicola Valley to submit art they had created during 2020 and early 2021. 

We were excited to see how the show came together, from paintings to pottery. And we were surprised at how positive the show was, overall. Despite the challenging times we were experiencing, and how difficult it was for people to endure, the show was full of light, colour, beauty and humour.

Overcoming sadness and separation with creativity

Art During Covid

Lin Butler Buchanan’s Covid 2020, Open Wounds

Of course there were expressions of trouble and sadness. The year was spent battling separations of family, the disappearance of social gatherings, and job losses. It was difficult for people not to succumb to feelings of loss and separation. 

At the Arts Centre we faced a difficult move, changing locations, and had to juggle all the participation, cleaning, and renos required. We missed several of our key contributing members who couldn’t risk even a bit of contact. 

Mission to stay connected

Art During Covid

Sharon Antoine, leather and beadwork

However, the NVCAC’s overriding mission during this difficult time was to help the community feel welcome, and keep up contact, even with restrictions. We stuck to the protocols so most people felt safe to come in to our Arts Centre and see our Gallery shows, browse in our gift shop, and sign up for an online art class.

The February Art During Covid Show had close to 20 participants. We were not able to hold a reception, but a steady steam of people came during the five week show. We made sure we posted lots of photos online, so extra-careful people could see the submissions.

One of our submissions was a large chalkboard, for people to write about what creativity they were up to during Covid. However, artist and NVCAC president, Mischelle Pierce’s own story, that she wrote to encourage others, was such an inspiration we just chose to leave it as one of the artworks.

Art of Covid

Art During Covid stories

The art show elicited story after story from people in the community, telling how they were keeping up their creative processes with the long hours at home.

They found they had time to do art

Art During Covid

Online classes and respectful in person art sessions

A common theme was how, with the stay at home orders in early spring 2020 that persisted for many, they found they had time to do art they hadn’t done for years. And some began arts and crafts that they had always wanted to do and had never tried.

Even local musicians, who were really missing our live music events like Open Mic, submitted songs they had written or worked on during the year. We played them on our YouTube channel at  the Gallery during the art show. 

Mandala Art

Kathleen Kinasewic Soul Circle Mandalas

An online art class that went over really well was Mandala Art with Kathleen Kinasewich, of Soul Circle Mandalas. Kathleen led a small group for a couple of hours, doing the healing and meditative process of mandala art work.

I am thankful myself, as the Gallery Curator, for the suggestion to do this theme for our regular February Community show. In the past we have presented an Art of Sound Show, an Art for Children, Children in Art Show, and other fun and interesting themes…. 

This show felt very meaningful

Art During Covid

Nona Tickner’s Wash Your Hands

This show felt very meaningful, to acknowledge and honour the way people rise to a difficult situation. Often our difficult times are experienced just in our own circle. But the Covid Pandemic brought us an experience that was felt, and still is, all over the world. And through our Art of Covid show we were able to gather some of the expressions of people in our Nicola Valley, and share them. 

The stories from this Pandemic continue. We hope that creativity and art expressions continue to help people get through this difficult time.

Art expresses our true feelings

Darkness, loss, and sadness to inspiration and light.  Art expresses our true feelings. Thanks to all who shared their creativity during this show with us. 

Express yourself!

And to see what else is happening in our Nicola Valley art community, visit my post Nicola Valley Creativity in Action.

Thanks! Jano Howarth

NVCAC Arts Gallery Curator

Visit us at nicolavalleyarts.com

Facebook Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

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Art of Covid

Cindy Trent’s Corvids

Art of Covid

Kim Vizi Carmen’s Collaboration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Merritt Planet Hair & Spa Re-Opening Covid 19 Style

Planet Hair & Spa’s Grand Re-Opening

Were You Go To Get Your Locks On!

Up-date on Planet Hair and Spa in celebration of their 25th Anniversary. 

Planet Hair has persevered by adapting and growing during these troubling times. All the while keeping their fundamental values, “Customers are #1”.  Planet Hair and Spa has re-positioned itself with a fresh new look.  While most people don’t consider the impact our clothes have on our environment, Kathy has truly thought of this. She understands, that more people are becoming aware of Textile Waste and its damage to our environment. Re-cycling with some re-thinking is what Kathy Castro is bringing to her spa! Additionally, as you are getting a great hair style, you can update your wardrobe with Vintageretro  clothes. 

Planet Hair and Spa serving the Nicola Valley, BC

Take your time, impressive selection. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Planet Hair and Spa Merritt BC.

Beautiful prom gowns! Photo Tania Stewart.

Planet Hair and Spa serving the Nicola Valley.

These “Boots” are made for walking.

 

Vintage clothing offers a chance to explore personal style. Tania Stewart.

 

Planet Hair and Spa serving the Nicola Valley, BC

My personal fav! You need to see this beautiful dress!

Accessories are a must!

 

Vintageretro fashion is still going strong in terms of clothing, footwear, and accessories. 

According to the Canadian Lock-down Orders

Due to Covid 19 Kathy Castro owner and operator of Planet Hair & Spa located in Merritt British Columbia had to close her doors . As a result many loyal clients have to suffer through a time of “nasty bedhead hair”.  Due to circumstances out of Kathy’s control, little options were available, but to try and turn a negative into a positive. Hence the re-vamp, re-decorate,  and re-paint of her salon. Having known Kathy for many years, one thing is for sure when talking about Kathy Castro, she rarely lets bad news take her down. 

 

Merrittplanethair

Kathy Castro in the Trenches!

It is important to note that Planet Hair and Spa is truly an Experience Nicola Valley venture and has always been my personal favourite place to get my “do” done.  However, what really makes my haircut experience so special is the opportunity to connect and socialize. Incidentally, I was also blessed to have Kathy as my first guest on the “Nicola Valley Talk Show“.  

WATCH NICOLA VALLEY TALK SHOW INTERVIEW

Merritt Planet Hair & Spa Re-Opening Covid 19 Style

Not only was I very fortunate to have Kathy as my first guest on the “Nicola Valley Talk Show”, I was able to see first hand the work and time that was put into re-decorating her business.  I applaud Kathy and her husband Paul for taking on this massive undertaking. Despite having to close its doors, with little warning, Planet Hair and Spa has re-positioned itself with a fresh and new look for opening day.  

Nicolavalleyplanethair

Our stations are ready for you!

Additionally re-vamping Planet Hair & Spa beauty products display 

When speaking about beauty products Kathy has traveled the world and has done her research. In all honesty, I can say that with all of Kathy’s years of experience she is able to seek out the best beauty products. The fact that Planet Hair stands by their products is just another way they stand behind their service. Kathy understands that hair care is important hence the large selection of products her shop has on display. However, Kathy does ask that all clients do not touch the products because of the COVID 19 safety protocols and, instead, ask to see them. Look, inquire but do not touch.  

Not only does Planet Hair and Spa provide haircuts, colours, and streaks. They also provide some of the best “products” to keep your hair healthy”, Tania Stewart.

To illustrate the vast range of products available 

The products available are many. Too many to list here. But, since summer is coming, they do have some suntan lotion made from hemp that is gaining some good reviews. Then there is the line of AG hair products on her shelves which will take care of your hair. Some of the brand names lining the shelves include “Designer Skin”, “Fiesta”, “Rusk“, “Reuzel” and “Nioxin“.  Whenever you are wanting to tame or inspire your curls then take a look at “DevaCurl“.  Planet Hair & Spa has many of things a person would want for hair and skin care. 

merrittplanethair

Nails are important!

bcplanethair&spa

Comfort is important.

Planet Hair & Spa product wall. “Teetree” is available.

Additionally Planet Hair & Spa offers a wide range of styling items

Equally important are the styling items available like straighteners. For you newbies those are the hot curling devises we use to keep our hair style going. In fact Planet Hair & Spa is a one stop shopping place to purchase everything your hair desires. Not to mention that a coupon or beauty product would make for a great gift!

 

planethairnicolavalley

Taking your appointments serious.

When re-opening social distancing is key 

Kathy has made sure your health is number one when visiting her shop in the Nicola Valley. She has her staff well trained and equipped with all the protective equipment including masks, and head visors. Social distancing will also be respected in her shop with only 3 hair stations operating at one time, which is every second chair in operation.

The separation of the chairs will provide safe social distancing. Truly making sure all clients are safe Kathy has all work stations social distanced as well as in client’s waiting room space. Moreover making your experience stress-free, relaxing while providing assurance for every one’s safety. While giving her clients the needed care and beauty treatment they have been waiting for. 

It is always a Great Experience!

planet hair and spa

Kathy Castro – Planet Hair & Spa

Everyone I talk to about Planet Hair & Spa tell me that Kathy has a way of making you feel like you are their favorite client. Whether it is your first time in her chair or your five-hundredth time having your hair done Kathy makes you feel comfortable and welcomed. What makes this hair salon and spa stand out is truly how gracious Kathy and her team are for having you as a client. 

Without a doubt Kathy is one of the most determined business minds I have been fortunate to know. A fashionista, trend setter, entrepreneur and let us not forget an amazing hair stylist.

 

CONTACT US:

Planet Hair & Spa

2040 Granite Ave,
Merritt, BC V1K 1P3

(250) 378-5558

WEBSITE

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Merritt Medi Spa Entrepreneur Spotlight: Anastaszia Cash

Owner/Operator of Desert Divas and Dons Medi-Spa

Experience Nicola Valley’s Sit-Down with one of Merritt’s Newest Storefronts

 

Merritt Medi Spa : A couple of weeks ago I put together a promotion at Community Futures Nicola Valley. I wanted to promote some local women entrepreneurs here in Merritt BC for International Women’s Day on March 8th. This was how I met the owner and operator of Merritt’s Desert Divas and Dons Medi-Spa, Anastaszia Cash.

Merritt Medi Spa Anastaszia Cash

Anastaszia was a fantastic collaborator to work with during the International Women’s Day promotion. We wound up having a huge success over on the CFNV social media; but I could tell there was a larger story at hand and I wanted to investigate for myself. Luckily, I write a series of articles about Nicola Valley entrepreneurs on Experience Nicola Valley!

Merritt Medi Spa Owner Entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Anastaszia Cash. Anastaszia and her dog, doing ministry work.

Merritt’s Desert Divas and Dons – The Beginning

Upon request for an interview, Anastaszia made arrangements quickly and easily. I got a sit-down interview spanning about an hour, as well as a guided tour of the Medi Spa! During our interview, I learned more about both Anastaszia and her husband Wes, who helps run this Merritt Medi Spa. They had an unreal story to tell, and I was honoured to be given the opportunity to hear it.

Meet Wes and Anastaszia 

Wes and Anastaszia’s career moves led to bicoastal American opportunities in New York, LA & San Jose. Wes was in international demand as a body builder and a fire suppression technician. Anastaszia had made a name for herself as an international gospel preacher, martial artist and master in the beauty industry.

A Long Road Leads to the Nicola Valley

A string of back to back, multiple car accidents, however, would interrupt their plans with countless surgeries. Wes, in particular, endured a broken neck & back. Anastaszia with a severe brain injury, two back to back heart attacks and kidney issues.  Anastaszia and Wes found their previous lifestyles unsafe to continue to pursue, so bottom line – things had to change. A relocation from the Vancouver area felt like a fresh start because the couple found the big city was lacking a personal touch.

Community: The Missing Ingredient

During my interview it became clear, time and again, just how much the Desert Divas couple value community. For example, since opening, first responders and military personnel receive 20% off all services. Anastaszia works closely with members of Kids Play Foundation to provide scholarships for youth in need, and she’s even networked with shelters and care centres across the BC interior to provide restorative services for people who may be bearing the scars of abuse.

And There is More Too!

As I was wrapping up this article, Anastaszia contacted me about another initiative she has taken on. In response to the growing reports of dangerous activity in BC, she wanted me to inform readers of a secret “menu item” when it comes to a “desert facial”.  Anastaszia prides her patrons somewhere safe and secure to wait if they’re concerned that they might be being followed or harassed.  Desert Divas staff will contact authorities if requested. 

It’s a lifestyle centered around bringing good to those around you – and I found it very inspiring on a personal level.

A Desert Diamond in the Valley

This commitment to community is inspiring! But how does the Medi-Spa itself stack up? Admittedly, I felt a little out of my depth here; as a rural twenty-something boy, writing about spa life. But where familiarity fails, research prevails, so I hit the web and studied as much as I could in advance of my interview. As far as my newly enriched understanding could tell, Desert Divas and Dons represents a world class experience!

Technology At Work

The technologies at work here are huge, international names; treatments like OxyGeneo and DermaStamp are available at a price point that Anastaszia says leaves enough savings for her coastal clientele to commute down and see her. The medi-spa itself is Health Canada certified, with a massive emphasis on safety, sanitization and professionalism.

A Passion Stemming from Personal Experience

Anastaszia has spent several years working in what is considered the beauty industry. However, there is significant stigma against the industry. One point in case, vanity can lead to body issues and negativity. Admittedly, I used to see things from that angle myself. Anastaszia however, relates the procedures she performs back to her own life and previous experiences with abuse. She sees opportunity for people to find a fresh start by healing wounds and erasing pain – both physically, and emotionally. In her own life, aesthetician work has helped her find confidence and start again.

Anastaszia also provided this picture of herself, on duty as a chaplain.

A Learning Experience

I came to the Merritt medi-spa feeling a bit out of my depth. Someone with my lifestyle, I had figured, is going to be a pretty unlikely client. But the experience I found here was surprisingly genuine, deeply sincere and honestly kind of moving. I wound up specifically appreciating the joie-de-vivre on display here at Desert Divas.  Anastaszia and Wes have lived a tremendous story together, and while pain has been a significant part of their story, they refuse to let it be a story of pain. It’s a huge distinction, and it’s one I don’t know if I understood before having this meeting. 

In Conclusion

Anastaszia got in touch with me a few more times after the initial visit to see if I needed any help with the article? Anastaszia, also let me know she has taken more steps  to becoming a community leader. For example, Anastaszia Cash EDU, an education program for aestheticians that she developed herself is off to a great start. Her work with Kids Play Foundation is developing more and more each day, and she continues to seek local youths to provide mentorship at her spa, offering the opportunity to get Merritt residents a foot in the door on a valuable career opportunity. 

Merritt Medi-Spa: My Takeaways

For my own part, I got to make two great new friends! Wes and Anastaszia are welcoming and open, and their commitment to community is inspiring. Stigma is often attached to smaller towns like the idea that if you’re not born here or raised here, you won’t be given the chance to belong. Anastaszia and Wes admitted that upon first opening their business, some people were hesitant, but with time Merrittonians have come to appreciate that it’s the real deal! 

I left personally inspired to be more positive in my day to day interactions, as well. We’re rarely given the opportunity to change the hand we are dealt, but we’re always in charge of whether we accept it with a smile or choose to let it beat us. Thanks for the chat, and the words of wisdom, Anastaszia and Wes!

CONTACT US:

2101 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC V1K 1R6

(250) 936-9200

info@desertdivasanddonsspa.com

Facebook / Instagram

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