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Remembering Merritt BC Summer Music Events 

Nicola Valley Summer Time Fun Will Be Back

COVID19 may have postponed our Merritt BC summer music events but it will never take away our memories. 

 

The COVID 19 pandemic has cancelled our Merritt BC summer music events. And, boy, do we have some music classics here in the Nicola Valley like Bass Coast, Rockin’ River Music Festival, Open Mic Night and Gary Copper at the Adelphi Hotel to mention a few. However, it would not feel right to write a blog about remembering summer music events without mentioning Spirit Square, music in the park, and the Old Time Fiddlers playing at our local street market. As a result, no country music event blog would be complete without mentioning our very own cowboy crooner Bobbie Garcia,  who may just pop up at any of our music events at anytime.

merritt bc summer events

Bobbie Garcia – Photo courtesy of Bobbie Garcia

Take the time to check out “Cooper Country” post COVID 19 

Merritt BC’s oldest heritage Hotel, the Adelphi Hotel, is home to one of Canada’s and Merritt’s country icons, Gary Cooper. The group plays weekly to a growing collection of avid fans while welcoming their friends from all over the world to get up on stage and jam along with them. Therefore, it will especially be nice to witness some good ole’ country music again sometime in the future.  

merritt bc summer music events

Gary Copper – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

To say nothing of Gary Cooper’s amazing talent to make that guitar dance with such mind blowing movements. Albeit I may be a little biased, but I can honestly say Gary Cooper is one of the best performers I have ever witnessed.” Tania Stewart

 

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Cooper Country invites all friends to join on stage – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Cooper Country” Gary Cooper with his 2 son’s Cory & Jason, along with friends at the Adelphi Bar in Merritt BC

 

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Millie playing with her favourite band! – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

When we get pass this pandemic, be sure to attend “Open Mic” at Kekuli Café and support local artists

Whether you live in Merritt or stopping for gas at the Seven-Eleven across the street from the Kekuli Café, there is nothing that connects more with locals than locals sharing their love for music. We hope, soon, weekends at the Kekuli Cafe will open up again and fill the air with music.  Furthermore, the many Open Mic Music fans like Doug, Donna and Mary Dickie (who is in her 90s) cannot wait to pick this up again.  

Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Nights Audience – Photo courtesy of Jano Howarth

“As with all events like Open Mic Nights, our audience is what makes it ongoing.” Jano Howarth

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Remember when we could take a stroll in the evening in Downtown Merritt BC 

Merritt’s Spirit Square was built for sound. Located in the heart of Downtown Merritt in the Nicola Valley, it is the sight of many open-air performances during the summer months. Because of the abundance of talent in the Nicola Valley there is never a lack of talent to grace the stage. The Nicola Valley is blessed to have so many talented musicians. 

MerrittNicolavalley

Coquihalla Coyotes  – Photo courtesy of Coquihalla Coyotes

One such local band which has played venues throughout the Nicola Valley are the Coquihalla Coyotes. The boys are a 3 piece rock and blues band for hire living in Merritt BC
Band Members: John-Henry Ramsey- Lead guitar/ Vocals, Paul Thompson- Bass guitar/ Vocals, Mark Schuitema- Drums/ Backup vocals

merrittspiritsquare

The J.S Garcia Band. – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

 

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Summer music in Spirit Square – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

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Merritt’s own Old Time Fiddlers – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Bass Coast” 

They sure made an impression. How it has grown. Then Covid 19 hit and it too paid a big price with cancellation. What was going to be July 10 – 13th, 2020 is now ?? ??.   Bass Coast is a collective that showcases both local and international talent in a safe, supportive space. It is a place where artists are encouraged to display and share their hard work without fear of judgment. 

Merrittbcsummermusic

Andrea Graham with Liz Thompson Bass Coast co-founders – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Bass Coast is built on the dreams and visions of a huge collection of people that will lead us to things Andrea and I would never have imagined. It’s not just us anymore, it’s everyone.” Liz Thompson

 

Merritt BC Summer Electronic Music

Bass Coast 2019 – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Post COVID 19 , this is one festival I cannot wait to attend again

Co-founders Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson are the architects of the event. The Librarian, Andrea, is a celebrated Canadian DJ, producer, and curator. She is the co-founder and music director of Bass Coast Music Festival. The festival is known internationally for its innovative music programming and installation art.  Andrea’s reputation as an inclusive community-builder in the electronic world has brought her a legion of fans and industry followers across the globe.

“I feel like in our community we have people who listen to different music, dress differently and are into different things, but that duality is also what creates a bond—our differences unite us.” Liz Thomson

Bass Coast 2019  - Merritt BC Summer Music

Country Music will be back in full force post COVID – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Remembering Merritt BC Summer Country Music Events

Due to your love of Country, the Rockin River Fest was scheduled again for Jul 30 – Aug 2 this year of 2020. The headliner this year was Keith Urban. However, things have changed since COVID 19 arrived in full force. Now there is a pent up energy for country music again and so we believe next year it is going to be epic. The Rockin’ River Music Fest is a B.C. family-owned and operated country music festival that takes place annually, on the BC Day long weekend, in Merritt, BC. See you in 2021!

Merritt BC Summer Country Music

Enjoying Rockin at the River – Photo courtesy of ehCanadaTravel.com

Kenny Hess 

Kenny Hess is the architect behind the Rockin River Music Festival.  From the age of 4, he knew he was going to be a country music singer. Therefore, by the time Kenny was a teenager he had already set in motion his musical journey that he is still on today. Lastly, Kenny Hess has now been a part of the music industry since the 80’s.  He has come a long way since standing on the kitchen table singing at the top of his lungs hoping someone would listen.

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With this in mind be sure to check out this amazing fun event in 2021.

 

Merritt BC Summer Music

Rockin River Music Festival – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

In a word

Obviously Merritt in the Summer offers an abundance of music events year after year, except for this year.  Regardless which event you choose to partake in the future the value is always there. Count yourself lucky! In conclusion, it is obvious that summer music events in Merritt BC are bountiful and will be back again. 

Merritt Summer Music Events

Follow Experience Nicola Valley for the latest in event listings coming back online. 

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Saddle Making in Merritt BC – Part 1

Custom saddlery in the Nicola Valley specializing in working cowboy saddles

“It might surprise you as to who the customers are that choose the most ornate hand carved saddles? You guessed it. The roughest toughest cowboys around do ornate the best. Ha ha.”

Saddle Making in Merritt BC Canada – The Nicola Valley is blessed with a cowboy culture.  As a result, every cowboy needs a quality saddle.  The community of Merritt, British Columbia, Canada is my home, and it is the cowboy culture  that has grown my passions for leather work in the area of saddles, as well as, chaps, and custom carvings. 

First Steps to Saddle Making in Merritt

saddle maker in merritt

Cowboy Wade

The first step in Merritt saddle making is to select the saddle tree. To do so lets use my current customer saddle I am working on. I selected a 16”wade with a wood post (ie. larger diameter neck horn mostly used for roping cattle). Therefore my second decision was to select a 41/2” cantle. The reason for the taller cantle is to create a more secure seat for riding rough horses. In this case, it was a pick up saddle for competing in saddle bronc events at rodeo competitions. 

experience merritt

Saddle Making Decorations 

saddle making designs

Custom flower design

The customer, a repeat customer I might add, decided on the tree and the exterior look of his saddle. (ie. rough out ). Furthermore,  my customers have design options when ordering a saddle from me. Many decorate the smooth side with intricate flower designs or a unique basket weave pattern. Therefore, the possibilities are literally endless. You ask? I can do it! Consequently this customer  chose a rough out (meaning flesh side of the leather for you newbies).

Leather Selection

The first thing I do is acquire saddle skirting from a reputable tannery. In this case Hermann Oak located in St. Louis Missouri is my go-to tannery. The acid (oak bark) process takes about 3 months long.  The finished leather is about 1/4” to 3/8” thick.

The second thing I do is apply a heavy 3/4”bark tan sheepskin (a tougher tan to withstand more abuse specific to the saddle industry). 

The Tools of Saddle Making in Merritt Canada

Horse shoe brand hdw

First of all, lets be clear, Don Loewen Saddlery uses nothing but the best quality materials available. I have found that the line of stainless steel hardware designed by and for working professionals, the horse shoe brand by Jeremiah Watt,  fits the bill perfectly.  In other words the cowboys of the Nicola Valley and beyond demand and deserve the best. 

Pattern Making

The patterns used in the saddle making process are very important. Every saddle maker should have their own style that can be identified at a distance. Therefore, it is clear to many, that the profile is a big part of what sells my saddles.

First… the saddle must be a comfortable functional product that is both balanced and pleasing to the eye. For example the grasslands of the Nicola Valley was the inspiration for the deep rounded skirt style that I designed for this client. 

Cutting the Leather 

The working cowboys in the Nicola Valley,  at least 30 to 40 full time cowboys, are employed and spend most of their working day in the saddle from pre-daybreak and into the late  afternoon . Having said that , these saddles take a real beating.  

The saddle parts that require more wear-and-tear or strength are taken out on the hip or but end of the hide, and the parts that require more stretch than strength come from the belly or flanks. The knife I use to cut the leather is a razor sharp head knife – a half round blade with a handle in the center.

In conclusion I hope you enjoyed this first segment. Part 2 will take on the exciting challenge of an all leather ground seat and shaping the skirts and some more of the knives and tools used daily in the saddle shop.

In closing I would like to leave you with the song “Mammas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys” by Waylon Jennings. 

Merritt Saddle Making in Style

   Home to all your custom Saddlery needs


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

BASS COAST FESTIVAL IN MERRITT BC CANADA 

Merritt Bass Coast Festival

Let us reminisce about Bass Coast 2019 in the Nicola Valley Merritt BC.  Because of  COVID 19 and the many cancellations of events, I wanted to give some kudos to some of our Merritt festivals. Furthermore, this being its 12th year, the Bass Coast electronic music and arts festival show had no indication of slowing down until the COVID wall went up.

Bass Coast in Merritt Co Founders

The co-founders Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson.   Firstly, we have the Librarian, Andrea Graham. She is a celebrated Canadian DJ, producer, and curator. She is the co-founder and music director of Bass Coast Music Festival – known internationally for its innovative music programming and installation art – and is widely considered one of bass music’s leading creative minds. Therefore, as an artist and entrepreneur, Andrea’s reputation as an inclusive community-builder in the electronic world has brought her a legion of fans and industry followers across the globe to the Nicola Valley.

Bass Coast in Merritt art

Reflecting back on my 2019 Bass Coast experience, I am reminded that the theme in 2019 was “Duality”.

Past, Future
Journey, Destination
In a world of duality
Where opposite forces exist
In nature, in ourselves
Silence, Sound
In contrast, in balance
What dark is to light

Bass Coast Newbie

It is important to note that this was the first time I experienced Bass Coast in the Nicola Valley. Therefore, having experienced many different festivals throughout Canada, this Merritt festival was a whole new experience of art and music.  Consequently, walking through the front gates, I was transformed into a forest full of wonderment. The abundance of lights, sights, and sounds welcomed me with open arms.

Nicola Valley’s Summer Heat

It gets hot during the summer in the Nicola Valley. In fact, so hot, that many cool off in the ” Coldwater River” during the hottest times of the day when attending the festival. In other words, the temperatures can reach 30 degrees during the day and it is always a good idea to wear a hat and have sunscreen handy. 

BASS COAST FESTIVAL IN THE NICOLA VALLEY MERRITT BC 2019

Cooling off in the Coldwater River during the day!

To illustrate “Bass Coasts” success. 

Moreover Bass Coast started in 2009 in Squamish BC. As a result of its success the Merritt festival outgrew the space, therefore moving the event in 2013 to its new home in Merritt, BC.  It is here, in the Nicola Valley, that Bass Coast took off.  

Bass Coast has become the quintessential west coast bass music festival. To sum it up, if you know 5 or 50 names on the lineup card you’re guaranteed to discover something new after a weekend of sun and music.

Bass Coast in Merritt art installations

Crowds at Bass Coast in Merritt BC

In short, the Nicola Valley provides a lot of space for camping, and dancing, along with ample space to display larger format art.

“Bass Coast is a DIY endeavor founded and run by women with no sponsors or corporate presence whatsoever, it’s a unique fixture in a region already known for its plethora of festivals…”
Resident Advisor

Did you know that the Bass Coast Festival is a music and art festival that takes place in the picturesque shared traditional territories of the Nłeʔkepmx and Syilx First Nation people. Therefore, we must extend out thanks.

base coast forest of tress

Bass Coast forest of trees

funky art at Bass Coast Festival

Bass Coast has garnered a global reputation for showcasing innovative international talent and providing a springboard for Canadian artists.

The fact remains, the Art Installations are a very high importance towards participating Artisans. 

Notably, each year Bass Coast provides a theme for all participants to explore, dress up or create art relating to its theme. Moreover, there are interactive art exhibits that will inspire everyone to participate in the festival. Therefore, we encourage others to attend with an open mind.

Basscoast

Considering constraints Zandi Dandizette, frames the conversation with the material relationship to childhood utilizing puzzle foam mats.

In 2019 Bass Coast won the acclaimed ‘Best Boutique Festival in North America” 

art shines at night at bass coast

BASS COAST FESTIVAL IN THE NICOLA VALLEY MERRITT BC 2019

“Moreover having a proactive approach to harm reduction. Our goal is to empower our peers to positively influence their own health and safety by providing some tools and information regarding harm reduction.” Bass Coast 2019

 

bass coast at night

Together Within the Forest. Celebrating while exploring under a canopy of lights.

Liz Thomson Art Director at Bass Coast. Who better to create Bass Coast’s Artistic Vision.

An unforgettable music festival experience.

 

Write a letter, and put in mailbox.

bike riding at bass coast

Ricky Mervyn going on a bike ride.

A Wonderment of Art

Through-out the forest grounds you could easily become transfixed with unique and beautiful art that is displayed.

art installations at bass coast in merritt

One of the many displays of Art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moreover the Art displayed is full of beauty that amazes your senses.

I can see this in my living room.

Bass Coast art in the Nicola Valley

Alternatively you are able to take in a deluge of music.

Together with 3 different venues through-out the festival grounds you are treated to an assortment of talent. I heard there were around 5000 people in attendance at the 2019 Bass Coast Festival in Canada Merritt BC. 

main stage at bass coast in merritt

 

“Similarly there are other music venues you can freely wonder over too.” Tania Stewart

 

Looking into this is similar to a kaleidoscope.

Alongside new and old  friends we danced to some of the best electronic music I have heard and we danced late into the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bass Coast Festival Vendors

There are many vendors scattered throughout the venue.  

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Hawks Creative Collective

 

Hollis Nelson Visual Artist – Hawks Creative Collective

“I have always had a lot of love for the thrift shop experience. Growing up my mother would often take me to Value Village. Hunting through other peoples trash for treasures was always a thrill. This dialogue of giving the discarded a new life is my body of work.” Hollis Nelson Visual Artist.

Hollis paints with acrylics, working on recycled material, clothing and fabric, as well as, large scale canvas. In conclusion it becomes obvious one will notice the talents in print making, painting, ceramics and installation art.

 

Additional information on Hollis Nelson The Hawks Project.

“We inspire positive change starting with an outlook” Mattaio.

Set 4 LYFE Apparel

Being how the music scene can influence its followers to wear specific brands that identify their music style or genre, MATTAIO created Set 4 LYFE in the summer of 2008. As a result of being an unconventional thinker, Mattaio creates extraordinary, vibrant, colorful apparel for all ages.

As an unconventional thinker MATTAIO had a vision. Therefore, MATTAIO creates a clothing label with a new perspective, bridges people together while inspiring a movement, creates a philosophy to encourage collaboration and shows a deep appreciation of all genres, music & art forms. Clothing for all ages. Visit SET4LYFE for more information. 

House Of Commune Amazing BoHo Wear.

House OF Commune BoHo Wear for all ages. Coupled with beautiful Renee Dupuis

colors at merritt bass coast

House Of Commune.

House of Commune.

Beautiful silks

 

Siamurai Apparel 

Siamurai apparel made Stitch a simple & relaxing life.

bass coast art

art at bass coast

 

 

Above all the experiences and lifelong memories that are made while at Bass Coast Festival in Merritt BC. 

While memories are fantastic, pictures truly can bring a person back to that exact moment. Therefore, I enjoy sharing some of my pictures that bring me back to my Bass Coast in Merritt experience.

bass coast main stage

Andrea Graham & Liz Thomson co-founders of Bass Coast.

bass coast rocks it out

To tell the truth this had to been one of my favourite experience. Tania Stewart

In addition.

Andrea studied classical piano, jazz piano, guitar and voice until early adulthood, before translating that classical skill set into her passion for electronic music in the early 2000’s.

In short the Librarian moniker is a nickname given to her by friend and Bass Coast co-founder Liz Thomson, referring to her signature glasses and expansive library of music. https://thelibrarian.ca/

 

 

Additionally Bass Coast prides itself in being an inclusive gathering that brings together people from diverse backgrounds. Moreover inspiring them to participate to the fullest.

Andrea’s reputation as an inclusive community-builder in the electronic world has brought her a legion of fans and industry followers across the globe.

Studied classical piano, jazz piano, guitar and voice until early adulthood.

base coast dance party

BASS COAST FESTIVAL IN THE NICOLA VALLEY MERRITT BC 2019

Additionally it is all about having “Fun”

base coast in merritt british columbia

Overall Merritt’s Bass Coast needs to be on your bucket list!

Bass Coast is the quintessential west coast bass music festival.  I look forward to when the festival season resumes and art and music makes an big entrance in Merritt BC Canada again. See you at the next Bass Coast in Merritt.

Bass Coast in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley Music Festivals


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Culture and Art Show for Children

Merritt artists create inspiring art for children in our new Gallery Show!

“Out of inspiration comes curiosity, motivation, desire, and the creative process.”

Art for children in Merritt BC is thriving! We asked our local artists to bring in, or create new art that would inspire children’s ideas and imaginations. And we have had a wonderful response with over 25 artists participating in our five week-long show. It’s up! It’s fun and colourful! And it’s on until 4pm, Saturday, March 14, 2020. Come on by!

Art for Children

Children in Art, Art for Children

How did we get so many artists to contribute to a show about art for children?

First, we put a call out to artists in the fall, through our membership newsletter, our local papers, and social media.

Then an email went out directly to most of the artists who have participated in our shows in the past, and a few we would love to gather into our active arts and culture community.

Lastly,  were our personal reach outs to those who popped in to see us at the Gallery, or who called in for questions, or met at events like Open Mic, and on the street! We did our best to reach out to as much of the Nicola Valley community as we could!

Art horses

Miriam Loken’s “A Moment with Max”

What’s in our Art for Children show?

Of course, we have children in the art…

  • Miriam Loken’s A Moment with Max features a child and a horse
  • Nancy Ellingsen’s grandchildren’s portraits, Ember and Logan
  • Bruce Walter’s photo A Teachable Moment, children in nature
  • Jean Kiegerl’s Reborn with a father and his baby girl
  • Judy Young’s amusing Shopping with Dad
  • Robert Moretti’s Camping Branch Swinging 
  • Joel Reid’s large graffiti 3 Candles
Art for Children

Artists Michael Behrens and Joel Reid Paintings

Art can inspire.

But a lot of the art in the show is meant to inspire children, of all ages- from babies to teens. We have paintings – watercolour, acrylic, and pastel…. depicting a variety of subjects like butterflies, undersea creatures, fanciful trees and mountains by artists Joel Reid, Fran McMurchy, Karen Otway, Michael Behrens, Shirley Reynolds, and Herta Klassen, Gale Simpson, and Diane Wandler.

Paintings, 3D pieces, mixed media…

We have 3D pieces, like Pius Chong’s monkey and Amanda Pryzner-Dunn’s folded steam engine (protected in a glass case). Kelly Reid brought in two magical fairy gardens made from a mix of materials, like a path of pennies, and a tiny tea cup.

painting in merritt

Tina Barlow’s Love, Laugh

There are mixed media pieces like Lin Butler Buchanan’s stunning dark Sunflowers at Night, and Tina Barlow’s The Laugh Love Tree. There are cloth and fibre art pieces like Cindy Trent’s Circus quilt and Vickie Strom’s bright woven wall hanging.

Amanda submitted paper cuts depicting three fairy tales. Can you guess them? Visit the show and see!

And we are displaying whimsical pieces like a Vicki’s felt mouse, Barb Sayles’ vintage dolls, and Pam Clark’s adorable knit bunnies and chicks.

And My Topsy Turvy Circus Diorama

I jumped in myself for this show and created a five foot Circus diorama, populated with several dolls and puppets from my collection. They are dressed as jesters, clowns, mimes, trapeze artists, and horse trainers for the occasion. My favourite wooden Czech Marionette hangs high up in the Topsy Turvy Circus, attracting children to see the three ring performances. All in the imagination, of course. And I tried my hand at doll faceups, including a mime face on a Berenguer doll. Fun!

Children artists in merritt

Jano Howarth’s Mime Face Up

Art for children is one way to reach out to children.

As a life long educator, with over 30 years of interaction with children of all ages, I have realized how important inspiration is to the process of creativity and life itself. Out of inspiration comes curiosity, motivation, desire, and the creative process. Art is a very effective way to reach children! There are so many forms of artistic creativity that can appeal to children’s natural interests and help them identify their own passions and life directions.

When I put the call out to artists I said:

“This show is about children and how we inspire them to take their own path- maybe art, maybe another passion. Think of Cindy Trent’s quilt depicting the layers in the earth. Inspiration for quilting? painting? sculpture? photography? geography? zoology? ecology? writing? Art that stimulates the imagination. And not necessarily kids stuff.”

children art

Art Bud’s Renee Hartwig

And that’s what we got! One gentleman was expecting art by children, or at least childlike art. And we certainly have on display some very cute art, and art that is appealing to the child in all of us! Our Art Buds teacher, Renee Hartwig, brought in her Bunny on a Hill painting that brings out the oohs and aahs in children and adults alike. 

“Interesting, beautiful, quirky, or socially conscious art”

But we have some sophisticated pieces that can stimulate great ideas for parents, grandparents, etc. on how to look for and choose art for a child’s room. Or art for a living room or dining room (or waiting room, or educator’s office) where children can be exposed to interesting, beautiful, quirky, or socially conscious art.

children and art in merritt

Art to Inspire Children

 
Even some of our local artists were challenged by the idea for this show! But it didn’t take long, in this community of creative artists, to bring together over forty-five pieces of inspiring art for children. I am very excited and pleased with the wonderful responses, from the artists, and from the visitors, local and out-of-towners, who have come by the show already. 

We have art that stimulates, amuses, and soothes.

Art for Children

Vicki Strom’s Felt Mouse

We had a great Reception the other night, complete with marshmallow squares, of course! But with chocolate, whipped cream and fresh orange toppings! Thanks, Diane! And thanks to Lin, Joel, and all the volunteers who helped put this show together!

Now that the show is up, the people are coming by with and without children. Thursday to Saturday, 12-6pm.

We have invited teachers to bring classes. (Just let me know! nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com or Jano 250-315-3437)

Art for Children in Merritt, BC… Alive and Well! 

For more info on this show, or upcoming shows at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery at the old Courthouse on Nicola Avenue contact me at 250-315-3437 or email nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Jano Howarth, Arts Gallery Director and community supporter!

Art Things To Do in Merritt, BC

Check out some of our past Arts Gallery Shows

  •  Open Mic Weekly! Friday nights 7-9 pm at Kekuli Cafe
  • Gallery Shows every five weeks or less! At the the old Courthouse Arts Gallery, 1840 Nicola Avenue, Merritt BC. Thursday to Saturday, 12-6 pm
  • Gallery Shop all year round, and yearly popular Artisan Winter Show
  • Arts Classes, course and workshops- visit our website for info
  • Special Arts Events: Mayor’s Gala, Jazz in the Attic, Art in the Park

Join the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council! Tax receipt for Memberships and Donations! Online or pop in to the Gallery.

Jano’s

Interested in doll characters and photo stories?

  • Website: Hiya Dolly
  • Facebook and Instagram Hiya Dolly

More on the Art for Children Show…

Bev Veale contributed an in-progress piece designed for a child’s involvement… Come in and find all the animals!

Bev has been painting the flora and fauna of the Nicola Valley for decades. And she continues to contribute her support and show submissions! Anyone interested in an original Bev Veale, contact me!

NVCAC Vice President Karen Otway’s colourful painting is both our cover photo, and our show poster. Thanks Karen!

And getting ready for the Topsy Turvy Circus kept me happily busy for days!

art and culture in merritt

Topsy Turvy Circus by Jano Howarth

Get inspired with your children! Get a hold of a canvas, a fun item to paint, and get busy!

Art for Children

Inspired!

Art for Children in Merritt British Columbia Canada

Nicola Valley Arts Council

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt BC Flower Shop 

Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants Flower Shop

“Opening and running a flower shop feeds my soul,” Miss Vicki.

The Merritt BC Flower Shop called Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants is located in downtown Merritt BC Canada. The flower shop serving the Nicola Valley opened on October 20, 2018. Equally as important, Vicki, calls the Nicola Valley  her home. When asked, “Why open a flower shop in Merritt,” Vicki adamantly replied, “I wasn’t going anywhere, this is my home.” Thank goodness because Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants is truly a welcomed delight and is surely is an appreciated ambassador for Downtown Merritt.  

“The timing was right. I used to work in the florist department at Save on Foods here in Merritt,” Miss Vicki.

Merritt flower shop

Vicki’s attention to detail makes giving flowers that much more special.

Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants in Merritt BC. being very picturesque.

The sights and smells make any visit to Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants a special experience. The colorful blooming flowers and plants covering the walls and floors of her shop is a journey of rainbow colors and fairy tale scents. Go ahead, visit this Merritt flower shop and take a deep breath. Along with all the vibrant colors you are always welcomed with a warm smile from “Miss Vicki”, the stores proprietor. 

miss vickis flower shop

Colors, care and flair all part of the Miss Vicki’s experience

flower shop in merritt bc canada

That extra touch and personal service goes a long way

Further more, Miss Vicki gives back to the Nicola Valley Community. 

As a result of Miss Vicki’s passion for the Nicola Valley, she is constantly donating to many organizations, charities, non-profits, and fundraising events through-out Merritt. One such example of Miss Vicki’s fundraising efforts is her commitment to improving patient rooms at Nicola Valley’s Gillis House. Secondly, she also donates to our very own Merritt Centennials with a free give away at every game. Thirdly,  this flower shop in Merritt has donated towards many organizations in lieu of silent auctions, the Nicola Valley Food Bank, Winter Solstice Powwow, Lower Nicola Indian Band Christmas Tree, and countless others.

“I believe in Merritt and our Downtown Businesses,” Miss Vicki!

MerrittMissVicki's

The colorful bird is an added touch of passion often given to her customers

Recycling is key for this Merritt flower shop..

PetalsandPlantsVicki's

A treasured Rubber Ducky.

Vicki and Dee are very adamant about “Recycling“. They are aware of the damage and added pressures people can cause on our eco-system and environment. They are working  to decrease landfills by recycling, reusing, and continually creating beautiful works of flower-art by recycling clients favourite or personal objects. In fact, Vicki encourages her customers to bring in a personal sentimental object to be the focus of their flower arrangement.  For example, a special favourite tea pot can turn into a floral center piece.

Shopping for a Single Rose or Planning your Wedding?

In fact Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants in Merritt BC can accommodate just about every occasion the Nicola Valley offers. Along with a vast selection of smaller flower arrangements, Miss Vicki’s is able to also provide larger beautiful centerpieces for their customers.  Specializing in their customer’s needs clearly indicates that Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants will go beyond what your needs are including a last minute bouquet of flowers, a handcrafted gift or a floral arrangement for your event.  

“Over the Moon with the support we have received from the community,” Dee.

merritt bc canada flower shop

Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants delivers when it comes to the finished floral arrangement

As a result of curiosity.

Dee, who works with Vicki,  joined the Merritt flower shop team two years ago. In fact, while browsing in Miss Vicki’s shop one day she turned to Vicki and asked if she was hiring part time? Dee has 35 years of experience creating and arranging beautiful flower art work. While both are talented flower-ologists (not a real word) there is no hiding the respect and unity between these two very personable ladies.

Merritt Miss Vicki's flower shop

“Over The Moon!” Dee explains how they cater to their customers.

The behind the scenes of a flower shop

Dee is often found in the back, creating beautiful flower arrangements. Her specialty, since Dee brings a lot of knowledge and talent to the floral business. Having lived in the Nicola Valley for the past 13 years her love for the community shows through her talent with outstanding floral creations. Truly exemplary!  

Furthermore every Friday while listening to Q 101 radio in Merritt, contestants can win a bouquet of flowers from Miss Vicki’s. Tune into Q101 for more details. 

Q 101 flower contest

Q101 contestant winner Marg.

Additionally Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants showcases a wide variety of local artists.

This Merritt flower shop is also a big supporter of the local art scene in the Nicola Valley.  The fact that Miss Vicki’s shop has numerous one of a kind hand-made artifacts is a testament to how special this shop really is. Additionally, you will be amazed at the number of local artisans within our community who’s works are on display in her shop. Consequently I found myself perusing through Miss Vicki’s shop finding an abundance of treasures. 

“There is so much talent within the Nicola Valley. It is truly amazing and wonderful,” Miss Vicki.

birding in merritt bc canada

Detailed Tiny Cabin.

artisan works in merritt bc

Painted Wooden Houses.

first nation nicola valley smudge kit

Smudge Kit.

missvicki's plants

Body Haven Soaps. Made with Natural ingredients.

 

Furthermore schedule enough time to take in everything.

Indeed Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants in Merritt BC Canada could be your one stop shop for floral and art. You will find cards handcrafted by Denise Weisse. There are custom built wood projects from Steamer’s Junk. A wooden bowl crafted by Reece. And the list goes on and on.

Missvicki'spetalsplantsmerrittbc

Miss Vicki’s own Artisan craftsmanship.

Next you will be enchanted with an array of glass birds & gorgeous flower pots.

Betty Pockrant flower pots.

Spice up your home or garden with more color.

Kay Schlosser Butterfly’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

miss vicki'spetals

Lavender is in the air at this Merritt flower shop

Understand that flowers can spark creativity.

Did you know that Van Gogh and Manet were inspired by flowers!? Miss Vicki and Dee every day create masterpieces. In fact Miss Vicki and Dee explained to me that on many occasions someone has come into the shop to help clear their anxiety or depression. Additionally it has been shown that indoor plants can help reduce stress levels. Makes sense!

Desk Buddy perfect for your office or bedside.

To clarify flowers can improve your mood.

Here is another fact for you to digest. Did you know that flowers & plants in your bedroom helps people get a better sleep because of the natural aroma and their release of oxygen.  Subsequently, the time I spent in Miss Vicki’s shop made me feel exhilarated and a calmness came over me, as if I  just had a mini vacation in a spring garden.

 

 

Accordingly having Plants & Flowers in your home.

Plants help purify the air reducing harmful chemicals throughout your home. Additionally, flowers help save money by having no need for air fresheners. Also flowers are environmentally friendly while purifying your air.  

Merritt Miss Vicki's

An assortment of plants.

In fact the number of local artisans crafts that are displayed throughout is magnificent & numerous. 

For instance you can find Twin Willows Glass Arts, Bev’s Baggage Denim, Vicky’s Whimsical Yarns, Squirrels New Chapter, Electric Art by Andy, Creations by Irene, Don Loewen, Twin Willows Glass Arts, and countless more.

Merritt Vicki's Flower Shop

Warez Du Bees. Raw & Creamy Honey.

merritt flower shop gifts

Gifts can make a flower arrangement

 

Furthermore plants & flowers improve productivity.

Without a doubt people (animals) are more productive and have a higher level of concentration if they’re near plants. It is said that having plants in your home or work space will allow you to be more focused throughout the day.

Missvicki's

“Kumma” Teddy Bear in Finish. Shop dog.

 Contact Us

MISS MISS VICKI’S PETALS & PLANTS FLOWER SHOP

Address: 2052 Quilchena B,
Merritt BC, Canada
V1K 1A4
Phone: 250-378-5575

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Culture and Art in Merritt, BC 

The Nicola Valley Arts Gallery Exhibition, with Fred Tomlin – “Fractured Reflections” – Was All About Wood and Mirrors!

“A lot of my ideas come from ordinary day to day things that we see in nature and all around us.” Fred Tomlin

First, a few words about Fred Tomlin…

Fine Woodworking

Fred Tomlin, Artist

Fine woodworking in Merritt BC Canada.  Fred is a retired educator who spent 34 years as a teacher and school principal in BC.

Woodworking has been an interest from early in his life although he has not been formally trained. Upon buying his first house he proceeded to do major renovations on a DIY basis which helped hone some of his woodworking skills. He then went on to build toys and play structures for his children and dabbled a bit in projects that required a finer detail. After moving to Merritt, BC Canada he undertook the construction of his home on which he did all the interior finishing. Doing finer carpentry gave Fred a sense of accomplishment which has lead to fine woodworking and has resulted in his present phase of creating “Functional Art”.

And now, in his own words...

What Inspires Fine Woodworking In Me?

It is the idea of problem solving and the challenge of making something that reflects what I’m thinking about. It is a process of looking at something and then translating my thought image into something I build.

A lot of my ideas come from ordinary day to day things that we see in nature and all around us. There are a lot of patterns, and lines that are right there in front of us if we take the time to look.

I started to use mirror to accentuate the patterns and images around us and further enhance the patterns found in the wood and the lines and angles of the project.

Art in Merritt BC

Fractured Reflections

Do I Have a Favourite Piece?

Each one of my fine woodworking pieces is my favourite while I’m in the process of creating it. Afterwards, some have a very special place in my heart as they now have sentimental attachments. It’s a fun process working through an evolving project.

I mean evolving in the way the project changes from inception to the final product. Grain, texture, color, angles, tone and just feel for the wood often changes the direction the project takes.

As a result there are several pieces that I’m not willing to part with because they have such an emotional and personal attachment.

Where Do I Work?

I have a small 10 x 16 foot workshop in the basement of my home in Merritt BC Canada but I also use the garage to make larger cuts as that is where the table saw lives. It’s small, compact, but it lets me gets the job done.

I do not have a scheduled time for work but rather when the mood strikes. When the weather is good I do not like being in the shop, so I get outdoors for a while. I also do not want the working in the shop to become WORK! It is a pleasure place where I go to relax and escape from the regular day to day things.

I take the time needed to do whatever I have in mind to get the project to the place I feel I can leave it. If it takes me several hours or just a few minutes it doesn’t matter. I’ll invest the time needed to keep it moving along. I have at times climbed out of bed and gone to the shop to complete a task that was wanting to be done. Once this is done I go back to sleep, satisfied.

experience merritt

How Much Time Do My Fine Woodworking Pieces Take?

Time spent varies on the activity and the stage the project is at. In the initial conceptual stage I may spend several hours going over the selection of wood. I think of what angles need to be created to give the desired effect I’m hoping to achieve, and the overall appearance of the project.

When I get into the project I often work in stages such as, making the major cuts and doing a rough assembly, then moving to finer assembly and looking to see what the grains and tones are doing to the piece. It is at this stage that re-imaging often happens taking the project in a totally different direction.

Once I’m satisfied with the direction I work steadily towards final completion, at all times looking to see if I’m on track with what I want to achieve. Finally, it’s sanding, sanding, and more sanding, before the final selected finish goes on. This entire process usually takes several weeks to several months per project to complete.

To help pass the time while I’m in the shop, I’m often in a somewhat ‘meditative state’. I also listen to the radio or put on “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf!

Do I Have a Favourite Wood

Fine Woodworking

Fractured Reflections

Way back I started with oak and liked it a lot as it gave good grain character and it was somewhat forgiving to work with. Oak, a hardwood, holds its shape well, doesn’t splinter, and just pops when a finish is applied to it.

Over the years I moved to cherry and black walnut with their more subtle grain patterns and patina as they age. Cherry darkens and walnut lightens.

I’ve also worked with maple, birch, ash, beech, and use exotic woods such as zebrawood, cocobolo, purple heart, ebony, etc for accent pieces.

What About the Mirror?

I do not cut my own mirror. The glass shop works from a template I make, and I just let them do what they do best. I select the tone of the mirror to help accentuate the overall appearance be it a bronzed or silver mirror.

What Are My Challenges?

The main challenge is how to make something that represents the image I have in my mind. How do I use the grain or tones in the wood to accentuate what I’m hoping to achieve. There are many times I’ll change the direction I’m going based on what I see coming together.

My original commitment to the vision has to be compromised in order to create something different. This at times creates a bit of a mind conflict.

Fine Woodworking

Other artists admire Fred Tomlin’s work

What Support Do I Have?

It’s family and friends the give me the greatest support for my fine woodworking pieces. They are very honest in their comments regarding what I’m doing. I’m very pleased that what I have made generally meets with their approval.

Besides My Work, What Do I Enjoy?

I kind of like the older music, 60’s – 90’s, though I listen to all there is playing on the radio today. Beatles, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Great Big Sea, Imagine Dragons, Serena Ryder, IZ Kamakawiwo’ole 

I try and read at least one of the Booker Prize Winners every year but I’m usually reading something historical or mystery related. Some of my most recent readings have been I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I’m not much of a movie buff, but I’ll go and see a flick from time to time. 

Favourite Things About Merritt

It’s friends and acquaintances that I’ve been fortunate to make during my years here that keeps me here. The climate is ideal for what I’ve now developed as my lifestyle. I like being outdoors and being active.  I golf, cycle, hike, travel, read and spend time with family, friends, and loved one. 

The weather here allows me to get outside at any time of year. Just dress for what you see outside and you’re there

What’s Next For My Art Work?

Fine Woodworking

Fine woodworking and stones

I’ve got about 10 sketches for new projects awaiting me when the mood strikes!

Thanks Fred, for all your work…your art work, your show set up, your answers to our questions!

Fine Woodworking and Mirror, Unique Pieces of Art

As a result of his very successful Art Show, “Fractured Reflections” at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, Fred has received suggestions for getting his beautiful work out there for others to enjoy.

“Because of this local show, I am getting a little friendly encouragement to take my show on the road. I’m entertaining this idea….”

No wonder, Fred! We also want to encourage you to take the next step with your fine woodworking and mirror art! 

We are looking forward to hearing what’s next for you!

If anyone is interested, contact the nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com, and we’ll pass on your contact to Fred Tomlin.

For more on Nicola Valley Arts and Culture follow these links:

More shows we’ve had lately at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Nicola Valley Arts Council website

Facebook Page Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Instagram Nicola Valley Arts Council

Fine woodworking

Fred Tomlin’s Sunset – Jano Howarth Photo

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada bee

merritt muralRandy Travis – American Country Music Superstar

Grand Ole Opry Inductee Randy Travis Featured On The Walls Of The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

The First Chapter Of An Extraordinary Life

Randy Travis, is an American country music superstar and Christian country music singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor.

Travis was born on May 4, 1959 in Marshville, North Carolina, USA as Randy Bruce Traywick. The second of six children  of Harold Traywick (the owner of a construction company and farmer, as well as a substitute teacher) and Bobbie Traywick (a textile factory worker).

 “My dad was always a big country music fan, so we grew up listening to a lot of the old stuff. Hank Williams and Patsy Cline were probably his favorites.”(Ricky Traywick)

Randy Travis and Brother Rick

Randy Travis and Rick

Randy Travis grew up with the family name of Traywick and was the younger brother of Ricky Traywick by two years. Growing up in the Traywick home there were no shortage of musical influences and encouragement. Listening to music wasn’t the only influence he and his brother had. “Actually, their dad took them to guitar lessons together. Afterwards, they would go home and “jam” in the den, learning from each other. They would take turns playing lead and rhythm, always trying to out play each other.“

Learning to play the guitar at the age of 8, he started singing in the Church of Christ choir. For the next 2 years he and his brother Ricky performed as the Traywick Brothers at local clubs as well as entering talent contests. He would become a solo entertainer in 1969.

Randy Travis Early Years

Randy Travis

Troubles In The First Chapter

The next few years would be troublesome for Travis. Although his father encouraged his pursuit of music. The two often quarreled, which in part was a contributing factor in Randy dropping out of school.

Now as a solo singer he would continue to perform. Performing in tough venues where acts would be protected from the audience by chain link fence.

As a teenager Randy’s love of country music was matched only, by his increasing experimentation of alcohol and drugs. Soon Travis was drinking excessively and using drugs. He has been open about his troubled teen years, telling Newsweek that he began drinking at 12 and using drugs at 14.

“Sometimes a lot harder drugs, but at least marijuana every day,” he admitted. “I think all that was part of why I got into so much trouble. Because I drank so much and did so many drugs that it was like it wasn’t me. It was like another person was in control. Nobody can handle that kind of abuse. You go crazy, you’re not mentally in control. I’m just thankful that cocaine wasn’t around when I was going through my bad time. I’d have probably died. I’d have probably killed myself with it.” (Randy Travis to Newsweek)

By this time he had dropped out of school and briefly held a job as a construction worker. Over the next few years. Randy was in and out of trouble. Arrested for assault, breaking and entering as well as other misdemeanor charges.

The Start Of A Slow Turnaround

Randy Travis was a kid with a golden voice and a habit of making trouble when he was discovered in his home state of North Carolina in the late 1970s.

In 1975, Randy won a talent contest in Country City USA a nightclub in, Charlotte, North Carolina. The club owner, Elizabeth “Lib Hatcher” took an interest in the young singer. She hired him as a cook and gave him regular singing gigs at the club.

Still in his late teens, Randy had one more run in with the law. At his hearing, Hatcher seeing promise in his music convinced the judge to let her become Randy’s legal guardian. Hatcher spent the next few years grooming Randy. The two began to focus on his career full time.

In 1978, he recorded a self-titled album, Randy Traywick, for Paula Records. One single from the album, “She’s My Woman”, spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

Travis moved in with Hatcher, which put further strain on her already fragile marriage. She eventually left her husband and, in 1982, she and Travis moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Hatcher became manager of the Nashville Palace, a tourist-oriented club near the Grand Ole Opry. Randy performed as “Randy Ray” in the club as well as worked as their short order cook.

During this time an unlikely romance began to form between Travis and Hatcher. Travis and Hatcher eventually came forward with their relationship. They married in a private ceremony in 1991.

Travis would later comment, “I think we discovered how much we needed each other.” (Randy Travis)

Randy and Elizabeth Travis

Randy and Elizabeth

Chapter Two The Complete Beginning To The Rise Of Fame

Travis was rejected by every major record label in Nashville in the early 1980’s. Labelled and criticized by record executives, he was passed over by Warner Brothers twice as being “too country”. He would become a pivotal figure in the history of country music, including positioning as a major force in the neo traditional country movement.

 Warner Bros. senior vice president Martha Sharp went to the Palace to hear “Randy Ray” perform in 1985 and offered him a contract on the spot.

“I loved his voice,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “But I knew I was going to get a lot of guff. The prevailing opinion at that time was that he was too country, nothing that country would work. Still, my gut told me to go ahead.” (Martha Sharp)

Martha Sharp with Faith Hill

Martha Sharp and Faith Hill (An Older Picture)

The first thing Sharp did was change Randy Traywick’s stage name to Randy Travis. Then she encouraged him to focus on his strengths—especially his robust but edgy voice and the vein of irony that helped temper his more sentimental songs.

After being told he was too traditional, “On the Other Hand” released in 1985 only reached number 67 on the charts. Despite the disappointing review of “On The Other Hand”, Warner released “1982” which became a top ten the same year.  Randy Travis quickly became the hottest young country artist in America. He was adored by fans of contemporary and traditional country.

In 1986, both songs appeared on Travis’s album Storms Of Life, which secured a place at No. 1 for eight weeks and sold over five million copies.

Randy Travis was well on his way of marking a generational shift in country music.

Chapter Three Continuing To The Rise Of Fame Throughout The “1980’s”

In 1986, Warner Bros. re-released “On the Other Hand”, and the re-release became Travis’s first No. 1 single on the chart.

Travis’s first album, Storms of Life, was released by Warner Bros. in June of 1986 with anticipated sales of 20,000 units. By the end of the year it had sold more than a million copies and yielded four hit singles: “1982,” “On the Other Hand,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” and “Reasons I Cheat. “On the Other Hand”, “Diggin’ Up Bones”, and “No Place Like Home” were all co-written by Paul Overstreet.

Randy Travis

Randy Travis

Storms helped the world recognize, Randy Travis was no longer a secret.  The Album earned him The Country Music Association’s  Horizon Award now known as (New Artist Of The Year Award).

“Diggin’ Up Bones” also won Travis his first Grammy Award in 1986, for Best Male Vocal Country Performance. “Storms of Life” received its highest Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sales certification in 1992, when it was certified triple-platinum for shipments of 3 million copies.  The album’s producer was Kyle Lehning, who would also produce nearly all of Travis’s subsequent albums. In December 1986, Travis became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was the youngest inductee at the age of 28 to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

When his Storms of Life came out in 1986, country music was still wallowing in the post-urban cowboy recession, chasing elusive crossover dreams. Travis brought the music back to its basics, sounding like a perfect blend of George Jones and Merle Haggard.

The Hits and Awards Keep Coming

He became the dominant male voice in country until the rise of “hat acts” like Garth Brooks and Clint Black, releasing seven consecutive number one singles during one stretch. He won the CMA’s Horizon Award in 1986 and was the association’s Male Vocalist of the Year in 1987 and 1988.

During the early years Travis and his band travelled to concerts in a converted bread truck, equipment was hauled in a van and horse trailer. By the beginning of 1987, the Travis entourage, still managed by Hatcher—traveled in the comfort of a $500,000 bus. Hatcher also found Travis a publicist, who signed the engaging young singer to some unlikely television appearances, including one on the rock-oriented Saturday Night Live.

His second album, Always and Forever, sold well over three million copies and remained at the Number One position on the country charts for a record 43 weeks. The release’s most popular hit single, “Forever and Ever, Amen” was named favorite country single of 1987 by both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. Always & Forever won Travis his second Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1987.

Randy’s third album, “I Told You So” was issued in July 1988. Its first three singles, “Honky Tonk Moon”, “Deeper Than the Holler”, and “Is It Still Over?”, all reached No. 1 as well, while “Promises” was less successful at No. 17. The album achieved its highest RIAA certification of double-platinum in 1996. This was followed by Travis’s first Christmas album, “An Old Time Christmas”, late in 1989.

Closing Off The Decade Of The 1980’s

In 1989, Travis recorded a cover of “It’s Just a Matter of Time”, which was originally recorded by Brook Benton thirty years prior. Travis cut the song for a multi-artist tribute album titled Rock, Rhythm & Blues which was also released by Warner Brothers, and persuaded the label to include it on what would become his fourth Warner album, No Holdin’ Back.

Travis’s version of the song, produced by Richard Perry (who also provided bass vocals on it), was the lead single to that album, and charted at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs in December 1989.  Two more singles were released from No Holdin’ Back: “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart”, which became Travis’s longest-lasting No. 1 single at four weeks in 1990, and “He Walked on Water”, which peaked at No. 3. The album included one other cover song, “Singing the Blues”, along with the track “Somewhere in My Broken Heart”, co-written and later recorded by Billy Dean.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Randy Travis’s Part In Neotraditional Country

Classic Travis material and carefully crafted vocal delivery, helped bring neotraditionalism to the forefront of country music. New (or “neo-“) traditionalism looked to the elders of country music like Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells and George Jones for inspiration, and was a precursor to the more general categorization known as new country.

Randy Travis 2003

Randy Travis

The 1980s and ’90s were the time for a new, yet old, take on country music, neotraditional country. Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Patty Loveless, and Marty Stuart, among others, were all ambassadors of the down-to-earth brand of music. Which drew on traditional bluegrass sounds and down-home themes.

Neotraditional country, also known as new traditional country, is a country music style that emphasizes the instrumental background and a “traditional” country vocal style. Typical instruments – Guitar · Steel Guitar · Dobro · Harmonica · Bass · Fiddle · Drums · Banjo  and the Mandolin.

Travis came from the same neotraditional background as George Straight, especially on his album “Storms Of Life”. The album marked a milestone as the first debut album to sell one million albums.

Like Straight, Travis removed the undesirable elements attributed to the drinking, honky-tonk approach found with the outlaw artists. He was still able to personify a traditional country style.

Along with country pop and country rock, neotraditional country remains one of the veins of country music that holds mainstream popularity in the mid-2010s.

Chapter Four Acting and Music During The 1990’s

In the 1990s, Travis took on an acting career. He won roles in the made-for-TV movies Dead Man’s Revenge (1994) and Steel Chariots (1997). He made appearances on some of TV’s most popular series, including Touched By an Angel, Frasier and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.  Travis landed supporting roles in the feature films The Rainmaker (1997), T.N.T. (1998) and The Million Dollar Kid (1999).

Randy Travis-Million Dollar Kid

Million Dollar Kid

In addition to his acting efforts, Travis’s music career continued to thrive with the release of Full Circle (1996), You And You Alone (1998) and A Man Ain’t Made Out Of Stone (1999).

Travis’s sixth studio album, Heroes & Friends, consisted almost entirely of duets. It produced two singles: “A Few Ole Country Boys” (featuring George Jones) and the title track, also the only solo cut on the album. Both made top 10 on the country music charts in 1991. Other featured artists included B. B. King and Clint Eastwood. “We’re Strangers Again”, a duet with Tammy Wynette. Written by Merle Haggard and Leona Williams. The rendition by Travis and Wynette later appeared on the latter’s Best Loved Hits compilation for Epic Records, who issued it as a single in August 1991.

More Music In The 1990″s

In 1991, Travis took part in “Voices That Care”, a multi-artist project that featured other top names in music for a one-off single to raise money for the allied troops in the Gulf War.

The project included fellow singers Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, and Kathy Mattea. In addition, Travis recorded the patriotic song “Point of Light” in response to the Thousand points of light program initiated by George H. W. Bush.

This song was also the lead single to his seventh Warner album, High Lonesome. This album produced three more singles, all of which Travis co-wrote with fellow country singer Alan Jackson. “Forever Together”, “Better Class of Losers”, and “I’d Surrender All”.

Warner Bros. released two volumes of a Greatest Hits package in September 1992: Greatest Hits, Volume 1 and Greatest Hits, Volume 2. One single from each compilation made No. 1 that year: “If I Didn’t Have You” from Volume 1, and “Look Heart, No Hands” from Volume 2.

Also released from Volume 1 was “An Old Pair of Shoes”, which charted at No. 21. Later in 1992, Travis cut the album Wind in the Wire, a disc of cowboy-inspired Western music intended to accompany a television movie of the same name in which Travis appeared.

Wind In Wire Randy Travis

Randy Travis

This disc was his first not to produce any Top 40 country singles. Due to Wind in the Wire and other TV movies in which he starred, Travis took a hiatus from recording and touring for most of 1993. He later told Billboard magazine that “There seems to be this perception that I’ve completely quit”.

Music Keeps Charting In The 1990’s

Lehning remarked of Travis’s ninth album, This Is Me, that the singer seemed “reinvigorated”, while Travis himself said that the songs on it seemed more “rowdy” than those on previous albums.

Four singles from this album made the charts: “Before You Kill Us All”, “Whisper My Name” (which peaked at No. 1 in 1994), the title track, and “The Box”. His last album for Warner was 1996’s Full Circle. Which featured the singles “Are We in Trouble Now”, “Would I”, and “Price to Pay”. The last of which failed to reach the country top 40.

Also in 1996, Travis covered Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” for the soundtrack to Traveler. This rendition, issued by Asylum Records, spent 15 weeks on the country charts despite only peaking at No. 51.

Travis signed to Dream Works Records in 1998, where he issued “You and You Alone”. For this album, Travis co-produced with Byron Gallimore (best known for his work with Tim McGraw) and James Stroud.

You Alone Randy Travis

Randy Travis You And You Alone

Featured artists on the disc included Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, and Melba Montgomery. Actor Patrick Swayze also contributed backing vocals on the track “I Did My Part”. Its singles were “Out of My Bones”, “The Hole”, “Spirit of a Boy, “Wisdom of a Man” and “Stranger in My Mirror”.

His only other DreamWorks album, A Man Ain’t Made of Stone, followed in 1999. Also co-produced by Stroud and Gallimore, it produced a Top 20 hit in its title track. Three other singles all failed to make top 40.

Balance – The Silver Lining And Inspirational Journey in The 2000″s

Travis’s career from 2000 onward was dominated by Christian country music. His first full album in the genre, 2000’s Inspirational Journey, was issued via Word Records.

One cut from this album, “Baptism”, was originally recorded by Kenny Chesney as a duet with Travis on Chesney’s 1999 album Everywhere We Go. The version appearing on Inspirational Journey, a solo rendition by Travis, charted at No. 75 on the country charts in late 2000. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Travis recorded the patriotic song “America Will Always Stand”, which charted via distribution from Relentless Records.

Travis’s most successful venture in Christian country music was “Three Wooden Crosses”. Released in December 2002 as the lead single to his album Rise and Shine, that song became his sixteenth and final No. 1 single in early 2003. It was followed by Worship & Faith, consisting mostly of gospel standards, in 2003. This album earned an RIAA gold certification three years after its release.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

“Passing Through”, came next which accounted for his last solo chart entries in “Four Walls” and “Angels”. “Glory Train”, Songs of Faith, Worship, and Praise in 2005 also consisted largely of gospel covers. While his second Christmas album, Songs of the Season, followed in 2007.

“A lot of people don’t pay attention to the fact that his first album sold three million copies,” Ray marvels about Travis. “He’s the first solo male artist to ever sell three million copies in the history of the genre. He single-handedly turned this genre around and he has legends like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, George Strait, going, ‘If it wasn’t for Randy Travis I don’t know if I’d be where I am right now.” (Michael Ray)

A Return To The Country Roots

Around the Bend in 2008 returned Travis to a traditional country style, coinciding with a return to Warner Bros. Nashville. Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted of Travis’s career in the preceding years that his turn to Christian music “was fruitful, producing a series of good, heartfelt records. They also included a nice side effect of putting commercialism way on the back burner. The gospel albums were made without the charts in mind. While adding that “Around the Bend “stands apart from trends, not defiantly but comfortably.” In 2009, Carrie Underwood covered “I Told You So” with Travis on duet vocals, and this collaborative version charted at No. 2 on the country charts. Travis released two more cover albums in 2013 and 2014. Influence Vol. 1, “The Man I Am”, and Influence Vol. 2, “The Man I Am”.

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

Merritt Mountain Music Festival Performance July 2006 And The Randy Travis Mural Featured On The Wall Of The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

The crowd is at capacity with high expectations. Randy Travis is one of the most influential voices in country music. When Travis was introduced and walked on stage the entire crowd stood up.

“I am just a good ol’ country boy at heart and down right human”!(Randy Travis)

There just is no other voice quite like Randy’s and as soon as he began to make a sound you knew who it was! Randy is at his most creative, energetic and exuberant. His performance was warm, funny and engaging. He was at home with his audience and performing at his best.

The audience was lively, responsive and engaged in his every move. There was a feeling of genuineness and love that he has for his music and his fans. For Randy, it is not being a star or a performer. It is the flood of love outpouring from his fans and the enjoyment of being able to be with them and entertain them that is the inspiration for him to keep going.

The crowd was attentive and mesmerized throughout the show. However, broke into a roar when he started singing his closing song “Forever And Ever Amen”.

It was a an overall performance delivered in fine fashion. Capturing his wonderful talented voice as well as his boyish charm and appeal. It was definitely a show to remember. (Claude Lelievre-Merritt Mountain Music Festival)

Randy Music Festival

Randy Travis

‘We Can’t Save Him…Pull the Plug’

Randy Travis has sold more than 25 million albums, earned seven Grammy Awards, and toured the world. In 2013 he suffered a massive stroke that left him paralyzed on one side, limiting his speech and ability to do what he loves most: sing and perform.

As a result of the stroke, Travis had lost his ability to speak and had difficulty walking, but in the years since, has been making progress on both counts as well as relearning how to play the guitar and sing.

Earlier in 2013, Travis became engaged to Mary Davis. The couple married in 2015. Six years on from Randy’s massive stroke, Mary says the experience has taught the couple a lot about love, perseverance, and patience.

Randy Travis and Wife Mary

Randy and Mary married

“You learn to love each other and adore each other in a way that was far beyond what you thought was possible. So we learned a lot about love. There wasn’t anything that I feel like was going to tear us apart.” (Mary Travis)

With Randy unable to speak much, Mary does most of the talking for her husband.

He’s highly septic, with a staph infection we can’t get in control and it’s replicating. As well as other hospital born bacteria, collapsed lungs, chest tubes, he was intubated. He had a tracheostomy, and his skull was still off. 

“There was just so many things working against him but there was a couple things working for him and that was God Almighty and that was His will.” (Mary Travis)

The Decision

Mary asked Randy if he wanted to keep fighting in a partial comatose state. “That’s when that tear fell. And he squeezed my hand and we hadn’t got that much out of him in weeks. So I knew then that he knew what was going on. I also know that he wanted to fight,” she adds.

Randy Travis Hall of Fame Inductee

Randy Travis at induction in to Country Music Hall Of Fame.

During his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016, Randy surprised the audience and fans by performing “Amazing Grace” — his first public performance since his stroke three years earlier.

“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. I still get emotional when I think about it.” (Mary says, tearing up)

It was noted in 2017, that Travis had suffered permanent damage. It disabled his right hand and has limited much of his speech and singing ability. Travis continues to make public appearances but no longer sings. Mainly because of his apprehension about his ability to do it as well as he used to.

Randy appeared on-stage with Michael Ray during a cover performance of “Forever and Ever Amen” in June 2017, to which Travis contributed the final “Amen.”

He did the same during his 60th birthday party, thrown by the Grand Ole Opry on May 4, 2019.

Randy Travis A Must See Attraction On The Walls Of The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

Visit downtown Merritt in the beautiful Nicola Valley, Merritt, BC and take part in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Merritt, BC Mural Walk. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame includes Hall of Fame Inductees as well as CCMA Award Winning Artists.

randy travis mural in merritt

Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Melvina White – Mural painted by Michelle Loughery

True country music fans will want to start the downtown mural tour at Merritt’s National Attraction. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, situated on Quilchena Avenue in The Country Music Capital of Canada.

The Merritt, BC Mural Project created in 2005, became a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. The project, designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

Randy Travis mural can be found on the wall of The Adelphi Hotel at 2101 Quilchena Avenue.

Travis Forges Ahead, Seeking New Ways to Sustain His Career After Stroke

Randy Travis‘ new memoir, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith and Braving the Storms of Life, takes readers on a journey through some of the singer’s darkest moments and most difficult challenges.

While Travis admits that parts of the book were difficult to relive, there were also aspects of his past that he loved going back to and revisiting.

“Mary’s commitment to me has been truly astounding,” Travis writes in his memoir. “I was healthy, in fantastic physical condition, and a highly successful country star when we fell in love. But she married me after I had been incapacitated by a stroke, knowing full well what she was getting herself into. That was a major commitment — a commitment of love.”

Travis has enjoyed many “pinch me” moments over the course of his career, earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to his induction into the Grand Ole Opry. He  has never stopped feeling humble and grateful regarding his accolades, and that humility continues to help his fans relate to him.

“There’s lots of joy,” says Mary. “There’s lots of silver linings, even in the clouds.”

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The information for this article was obtained from Wikipedia and Randy Travis-Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter-Biography

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Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses

Earthwalker, one of our Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses with a twist

I have the best customers! They range in age from 4 to 75 years old.” Renee Henry, Earthwalker

When you are checking out our Merritt BC businesses, you will wonder what sort of business Earthwalker might be. Not only is Earthwalker a spiritual store, the owner, Renee, tells me it is also a gathering place where politics, religion and spiritual discussion takes place.  There is a twist. In the winter there is always a pot of hot tea waiting too. The seating is comfy, the atmosphere welcoming and respectful of everyone’s beliefs.

An inspired start

Several years ago, before Renee even thought of starting one of our Merritt BC businesses, she was laid off from her job. Unsure of what to do next, she went to a peaceful beach in Kamloops to meditate and get some clarity on what her next step should be. At the time a friend of hers had a spiritual shop and needed some help, so Renee volunteered. Since she had been interested in crystals from the age of twelve, Renee already had some background. Slowly she gathered together what she needed to open her own shop. A while later when her friend had more help, Renee launched Earthwalker, one of our Merritt BC businesses.

Why Merritt?

Renee tells me that from the first time she came to Merritt it felt like home. She loves the Merritt outdoors and we sure have plenty of that! Lots of fun stuff to do year round too. Hiking, mountain biking, cross-county skiing, fishing and swimming. For a nature enthusiast, wildcrafter, herb and food gatherer, this is paradise. “And once I saw the Hoodoos, I was hooked”, she says.

Merritt B.C. Unique Businesses, clothes and books

Some unique goodies at Earthwalker, a Merritt, B.C. Unique Business

Why a spiritual store?

Many people want to know why Renee chose this type of business. It’s simple. She wants to help people with their spiritual growth. One way she is doing this is by helping customers connect with the crystal that is right for them. In addition to being beautiful, each crystal is a tool with its own healing properties. Renee knows them well! Not only has she been learning about them since she was only 12 years old, Renee has also been a rock hound for as long as she can remember. She matches each crystal’s properties and healing elements to her client’s needs. This is truly a Merritt, B.C. Unique Business! Where else can you get this kind of attention?

Inside Earthwalker

Plan to spend some time checking out Earthwalker. Renee carries many different types and colours of stones, crystals and jewelry. It doesn’t stop here either. Best known for her knowledge, her crystals, her singing bowl and her own unique self, she also sells clothing, statues, tarot cards, books, healing items and one-of-a-kind goodies you just won’t find anywhere else! And why would you? After all, Earthwalker is one of our Merritt BC businesses.

Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses, display case

Earthwalker. Some unique goodies beautifully displayed

Gypsy, everyone’s friend

All Merritt BC businesses have a surprise and uniqueness to themselves. Earthwalker is no exception. Meet Gypsy, a quiet, relaxing dog who is very gentle. Even if you are not a dog person, Gypsy will soon have you petting and talking to her. If you need a hug, you can be sure she knows and will wander over to offer canine comfort and support

Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses, Earthwalker

Renee and Gypsy at Earthwalker

Before we finished the interview, I just had to ask Renee a few questions I thought potential entrepreneurs might want answers to.

Questions and answers:

Q: If you could speak to your younger self when you were just starting out, what advice would you give?

A: Do some accounting courses first! That would be a huge help. Also, the importance of social media and technology awareness is crucial! It is invaluable in promoting and marketing your business. Also, in today’s tough business climate  you need to be known on social media.  Your business will increase as your social media exposure increases.

Q: What are your favorite things about being an owner?

A: I dictate how my day goes. How I treat people or how much time I give them is not mandated by someone else.

Q: What future plans do you have for Earthwalker?

A: I would like to take more courses in the healing arts, holistic healing and women in business. In the autumn, I want to do more connecting with businesses. Lots of men are starting to get involved as well as women. More community connections. I would like to be able to hire more staff and offer more services.

Q: Speaking of community connection, is there another person or business you would recommend?

A: Angela Kerr. She is a Reiki master and reflexologist.

Q: What one book would you recommend every small business owner read?

A: Small Business For Dummies (Canadian version).

Q: Can you describe your customers?

A: I have the best customers! They range in age from 4 to 75 years old. There are a mixture of men, women and families.  My customers come from all walks of life.  Some need help and others come for information or to socialize. As I said, I have the best customers. (BIG GRIN)

Q: As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?

A: Community connections, people feeling that this is a safe, open place to come and be happy, satisfied customers.

Fall classes at Earthwalker

This fall Renee will be offering classes in:
– wire wrapping
– crystals
– reiki, level 1 and 2

If you are interested , please contact Renee at:
phone: 250-315-5350
email: earthwalkerspirit@hotmail.com
facebook: earthwalkerspiritualshop

Not only is Earthwalker one of our Merritt BC businesses, you can see from this interview that the owner, Renee Henry, is as unique as her business. Be sure to treat yourself to a visit soon. 

Merritt, B.C. unique business 

Earthwalker in Merritt BC Canada

Merritt BC Canada Businesses

Merritt And Nicola Valley Art Shows

A review of a summer of Art and Culture Shows in what has been a great display of community artistic talents

“Get-in-the-mood for fall art!”

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Artist Cassandra Dolen

Nicola Valley Art Shows in Merritt BC attract locals and visitors to the region! The Courthouse Art Gallery puts on a new show almost every month. We often choose themes for our shows that compliment what is happening in our community. Our locals enjoy the mirroring of our themes. This strategy helps visitors get to know our local interests and history.

More Nicola Valley Art Shows

Merritt Arts and Culture, and lots of it, has been happening in the Nicola Valley since I last wrote a Gallery blog! In February, we had a fun community show called The Art of Sound. We really enjoyed drumming with Raven Ritcey at our Open Mic night at Kekuli Cafe. And experiencing Singing Bowls with Gale Simpson, right in the Gallery.

In addition to that, in March, we honoured four long time artists in our Nicola Valley. One of our young artists, when he heard who was coming, gave the show its title….

Living Legend Contribute To Nicola Valley Art Shows

Living Legends

Pius Chong Sculpture

Evelyn Armstrong, Pius Chong, Doug Strand and Jackie Stibbards have been contributing to the art and culture scene in the valley for decades. Moreover, all of them are still creating art in their own way. The community had an opportunity to catch up with these artists at an Artists Talk at the Courthouse Art Gallery.

Personal History Of Art In Merritt

As a result we heard stories about their artistic beginnings, their journeys in the art world, and then the inspirations for the work they are each doing now.  Firstly, Pius Chong created a wood sculpture with bright blocks of colour. Secondly, Doug Strand brought human figure sketches.  Evelyn Armstrong displayed a series of photos of water in different states with ecological commentary. And lastly Jackie Stibbards exhibited a variety of work, from photos, to mixed media scrapbooks.

For April, we switched it up, bringing in one of the valley’s younger artists, Michelle Lonsdale…

Wondernatural

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Artist Michelle Lonsdale

Michelle Lonsdale has taken part is several of our Nicola Valley Art Shows at the Courthouse Gallery! 

She brought a touch of whimsy to the Art Gallery. For example Michelle offered up thoughtful twists in much of her work, like her black buggy in a meadow. Moreover Michelle was on hand when her past art teacher, Shannon Dunn, brought a high school class to see her exhibition.

experiencemerritt

We also had an Artist Talk with Michelle and really enjoyed her discussions about art, and her process.

From this young artist, we segued to even younger aspiring students from our local high school, participating in the School District 58 Arts Festival….

Create-Communicate-Connect

Nicola Valley Arts gallery

Artist Taiki Yamaguchi

School District 58 once again held their Arts Festival mid spring. They brought the artistic expression of our youth in the public schools to our community. Performance art, music, and visual art made their way into our Civic Centre, the Kekuli Cafe Open Mic, the Secret Door Gallery and to the Courthouse Arts Gallery.

The Merritt Senior Secondary School art students had the opportunity to display their varied work at our Nicola Valley Arts Gallery in the old courthouse. The theme Create-Communicate-Connect showed up in the drawings, paintings, and 3D art for the short show.

Certainly a lot of work by the students and teachers, a lot of reward for the community!

Following the exhibition showcasing our young local talent was an inspiring show by an artist who has made her way in the art world her whole life! And her art style is perfect for our Nicola Valley….

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Faye Gustafson Art

Forever West

Artist Faye Gustafson moved to our Merritt BC Canada community, with husband Ian Brooker, after several years of  participating in our local arts programs, like past Art Walks. Faye’s work in sketches and oils is made for our western community!

“The cowboy way of life has always appealed to my soul” says Gustafson.

“I love the endless stories of the people who lived way back when, and the excitement the modern cowgirls and cowboys still enjoy!”

Consequently Gustafson has exhibited her work in Canada and United States, Japan and Australia. Additionally she holds several awards for her artwork. We were very happy to exhibit her work in a single-artist show in our Gallery.

After that, the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery pulled together a show with other community groups to remember a heritage building in the valley….

Murray Church In The Nicola Valley

Murray Church

Murray Church Show Poster, by Kim LeClair

A well attended show by the Nicola Valley Community! This exhibition of art and artifacts honoured the place the historic Murray Church played in our valley. When the Murray Church was destroyed in a fire so many people felt the loss. The loss elicited so many memories. As a  result this show elicited stories going back decades, from far and wide.

We appreciated the artists and photographers who came forward with newly created depictions of the church. The past paintings drawings, and photographs touched many people. We especially loved the inspired presence of the original organ from Morva Murray.

Also we were very grateful for the participation of the Trinity United Church members, like Linda Baird, who contributed story boards, artifacts, art and memories. In short, a big kudos goes out to Amrit Samra for his dedicated work with us, and over the past years with the Murray Church.

After sharing memories of a much-missed historical building, we spun off a fun art activity in town. We put on a show creatively reusing items and making them better, more useful, and more beautiful than they were before….

Nicola valley Arts Gallery

Jano Howarth Photo, Kim Leclair Poster

Upcycle

During the summer, artist Shirley Reynolds organized an art event for the whole business community, the Chair Walk. Fifteen local artists were invited to upcycle a chair each. They were matched with downtown businesses, and displayed over the month of July. The chairs were put on auction to fundraise for the Downtown Theatre project and the Nicola Valley Arts Council. They were great! Very creative! Shirley’s chair project was a great success.

We invited the artists to bring their chairs to the Arts Gallery for our August show. And a call-out brought a wide variety of upcycled items from other artists and artisans. From paint sprayed garden pots to a 1st Nations art decorated corner shelf by artist Leonard George. Also there were blinged lamps and Cindy Trent’s golf club coat hooks. The locals outdid themselves! As a result of the displays, some visitors to the gallery were motivated to get into upcycling themselves!

Next, inspired by both the Fall Fair at the beginning of September, and the “Mayor’s Gala of the Arts” at the end, the Gallery’s September show combined the themes….

Swing Into Fall

Robert Moretti Art

Get-in-the-mood for fall art! On display at the Courthouse Gallery were many of the Photography winners of our celebrated Fall Fair. The photos were displayed on free standing dividers flanking fall paintings by local artists Robert Moretti. All the paintings nearby were depictions of fall themes and colours. Art by beloved local artist Bev Veale, young Wyatt Collins, and almost new-to-town Dave and Sue Barber.

And to enhance the swing dancing event coming, we created a 40’s themed boudoir with swing dance art on the wall and big band music playing. In short, thanks to all our contributors like Diane Wandler and Barb Sayles, and artists Judy Young and Jen Artibise! Fun!

And for the Arts and Culture scene in the Nicola Valley….

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Pop Up Art Gallery

End of September 2019… Swing Dance in Merritt BC!

Nicola Valley Community Arts Council and its community partner put on a fabulous “Mayor’s Gala of the Arts”! It took a year of planning to pull it off, with NVCAC Execs, Jane Bartle and Mischelle Pierce leading lots of volunteers. Consequently, over 200 people enjoyed the lively music of an 18 piece swing band. There was dancing, socializing, beverages and beef.

A highlight of the evening for me was the pop up Art Gallery at the Gala event. While I looked after the show at our Courthouse Arts Gallery, the President of the NVCAC Jean Kiegerl, and artist extraordinaire, Cassandra Dolen, put together a beautiful display of art by several of our local artists. 

As a result of the Gala’s fun and success, there have been lots of requests for a repeat next year!

Lots of Nicola Valley Art Shows at the Old Courthouse on Nicola Avenue!

On the other hand we haven’t even talked about Art in the Park and the community art installations. Or Open Mic night, and other programs we have run at the Gallery and other community venues over the past months!

As a result I am happy to play catch up a little, here on our fab Experience Nicola Valley blogging website!

So I am very happy to have directed and curated these Nicola Valley Arts Gallery shows…fun, interesting, informative, and inspiring! And so many artists, photographers, artisans, and talented community members!

Therefore, I am looking forward to my next blog! Already in the middle of a new show, “Fractured Reflections”, with fine woodworking and mirrors by Fred Tomlin. A must see! Show dates Oct 11 to Nov 9, hours Thursday to Saturday, 12-6pm.

Join the NVCAC Arts Council! Annual General Meeting, Wednesday 7pm, Oct 23rd, at the old Courthouse.

Contact nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Jano Howarth

Arts Gallery Director and community supporter!

Art and Culture Things To Do:

Firstly,  visit our Website Nicola Valley Arts Council

Secondly, like our Facebook Page Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Lastly, check out the Creative Community

 

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Joel Reid, Artist and NVAG Show Set Up

Merritt and Nicola Valley Art Shows

Nicola Valley Art Gallery and Culture Shows is what has been happening in and around Merritt BC Canada

 

Don Loewen Saddlery

Leathercraft Nicola Valley Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Merritt BC’s own Don Loewen Saddlery – Leathercrafter.

 Don Loewen Saddlery – Leathercraft Nicola Valley Merritt BC Canada. Experience this Nicola Valley gem. With over 30 years of experience, Don Loewen Saddlery has created over 500 horseback riding saddles. This has earned Don’s saddlery a stamp of pure “Authentic Quality Craftsmanship”. Many of us who have tasted ranch life appreciate Don’s unique skill and talent. To ride in one of his saddles is truly an experience and honour.

Don Loewen Saddlery

Introducing Don Loewen.

In order to know Don Loewen, we need to know his history.

From birth, Don grew up within a cowboy family. Growing up with an interest in horses and saddlery he made his first saddle at 14yrs old. Don realised early in life he had a unique passion and talent for shaping leather with his hands. Don began his journey at the age of 17 leaving home and attending  “Saddle School” in South Dakota. Itis here he honed his skills as a saddle maker and artisan.

Don Loewen Saddlery - Leathercraft

Notably Don does not lack leatherworking skill.

Consequently Don opened up a home-based shop.

Meanwhile after cowboying in southern Alberta and at Douglas Lake Cattle Company with some time working in the logging industry, Don returned to his true passion of saddlery. In 1995 he opened a home-based saddle shop called Don Loewen Saddlery. Eventually he opened up a storefront business in downtown Merritt B.C. in 2004. 

Don Loewen Saddlery - Leathercraft in Nicola Valley

Don showing Tania Stewart the frame of saddle.

Our saddles are highly customized to your specific needs.

Lets take a look at how Don begins to make a saddle. Firstly, a frame is made of wood and fiber glass of the horse’s frame. From that frame a saddle is fitted for the horse. Comfort, durability and the ability to stay positioned throughout a full day’s ride, is what makes Don’s saddles so well known throughout Western Canada.  Ground seat design, the skirt and seat design are skills that Don teaches and owns with a sense of pride. 

Don Loewen saddles

This is a newspaper clipping of an article done about a few of Don’s students.

Equally important are Don’s unique leather belts.

Every leather belt is one-of-a-kind. 

Don Loewen Saddlery leather belts

Don’s one-of-kind leather belts.

Additionally Don has added other high-quality leather products.

As well as saddles, Don crafts belts and traveller’s notebooks. Furthermore, Don passes down his art of leather crafting with teaching a wide range of people. Most rememberable were the young high school students and adults from Sweden.

Don Loewen leather bags

Truly a master leathercrafter.

Don’s saddles are well known throughout Western Canada and the World.

Horseback riding leathercraft

Horse reins.

Furthermore the skill of Don Loewen continues.

Together with his beautiful wife Jody, they have six wonderful children and two precious grandchildren. Don’s eldest son has also learned the basics of the craft of saddlery.

Don Loewen Saddlery - Leathercraft

Leather artistry at it’s best. Don Loewen.

Coupled with Don’s skill and talent everything is proudly made in the beautiful Nicola Valley Merritt BC!

Artisan Don Loewen

Artisan Don Loewen.

“I am busy as I need to be,” Don Loewen.

Horseman Don Loewen

Not to mention that Don once made a saddle for “Marmaduke” 

Testimonial from Alex Robinson

“Don Loewen has always had a reputation for building a good using saddle. I looked at a couple of Don’s saddles that the cowboys in the valley had ordered and had been using for every day ranch work and I was impressed with the quality of the rigs and how they were standing up. I’ve been riding my Loewen saddles for some time now and haven’t got one complaint. The saddle sits on a horses back well and I’ve never rode in a more comfortable seat. Don’s saddles are reasonably priced and you will never get a better person to deal with.”

Alex Robinson
(Cow boss)
Quilchena Cattle Co.
Quilchena B.C.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Don Loewen Website

250-525-0220

experiencemerritt

Don Loewen Saddlery

Leathercraft Nicola Valley Merritt BC

Events

Special Guest Open Mic Night Host – Denise Kearney

Music Technician as well as performer, guitar player, singer, music coach …

Merritt BC Canada Music Scene

Open Mic Host

Denise Kearney-Open Mic Host

Meet Denise Kearney, the Host of Open Mic Night in Merritt BC Canada. Denise Kearney is joining us on Nicola Valley Talk to share with us her music journey, from childhood singing with her family to sound tech and film and video work to music performances in the Nicola Valley with her husband Al and friends.

Nicola Valley Talk in Merritt BC

Every Thursday at 7 PM (pst) come join us on Nicola Valley Talk as we invite a different guest from the community and beyond to discuss the issues of the day. The talk show is broadcast from self isolation somewhere in the community of Merritt BC Canada. Nicola Valley Talk is a product of Experience Nicola Valley, the top resource in the region for authentic stories and experiences.  

 

Contact Information

Open Mic Night

Merritt, BC

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Live Talk Show in Merritt

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