About the Nanaimo FCA Chapter
The Nanaimo Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artist strives to provide its members with several activities and shows. We are a group focused on sharing and learning from each other, and from other professional artists. We also try to provide a platform for showing our art via this website, our Facebook sites and a minimum of two shows annually. Please see the calendar for times of specific activities. The calendar and website are updated monthly.
On a normal year the Chapter plans to meet 8 to 10 times. Every two months, a two to three-hour meeting is held to discuss Chapter business, members’ updates and achievements and an invited artist delivers a demo. At these meetings, there is also the opportunity to bring work and discuss it with other members as well as bring art supplies to sell, trade or give away. Every other month, the Chapter organizes a two to three-hour meeting for either a demo, critique, or presentation on a topic of interest to the Chapter. Please see the calendar for times of specific activities.
The Chapter usually organizes a minimum of two workshops a year with preferential rates and advance registration for its members. See Workshops Here.
The Nanaimo Chapter aims to organize two shows each year. The Nanaimo Fine Art Show is a juried show to be held at the Nanaimo Conference Centre in early November. This event is highly publicized and draws a good crowd. We have opened a show Facebook page for Show related updates. You can find it by following this link: www.nanaimofineartshow.com .
Members’ News and Brags
Members news and brags are shared in our monthly newsletter. In this section, members provide information about awards, shows, and other newsworthy items. The Newsletter also provides our members with a non-juried opportunity to show their work.
Nanaimo Federation of Canadian Artist Facebook
This Chapter has two Facebook sites, focused on sharing news and images from our members. The first Facebook site is public. If you are a Facebook user, search ‘Federation of Canadian Artists: Nanaimo Chapter’ to like and follow the page. Current Nanaimo FCA and FCA Vancouver news is posted there. See this Facebook Page Here.
As of 2017, the second public Facebook site focuses on the Annual Fine Art Show and provides news, updates, and images of works from each show. You can find it by searching Facebook for ‘Nanaimo Fine Art Show - Sponsored by the NFCA’ or by following this link: www.nanaimofineartshow.com.
Nanaimo FCA Chapter History
Twenty years ago, in March of 1989, a group of mid-island artists met to discuss the formation of a new Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists. The national organization was formed following an Arts Conference held in Kingston Ontario, in 1941, where "many Canadian Artists expressed a need for a country-wide organization that would serve the needs of artists, critics and those interested in art. " (FCA 60th Anniversary Publication) The first national president was Andre Bieler, and he was followed by Lauren Harris. In 1978, the FCA moved its base of operations from Victoria to Vancouver where its offices and gallery are currently located on Granville Island. By 2001, the Federation of Canadian Artists was a nationally incorporated organization, 2000 strong, with representation in every Canadian province and with additional members abroad. At that time, there were eleven chapters in BC and Alberta, including the mid-island Chapter.
That first mid-island group included some very familiar names including Dorothy Sevcov, to whom we are indebted for much of the material that has formed the basis of these articles.
When the artists first met in 1989, Dorothy volunteered, as always, to contact the Federation office in Vancouver, and from her "archives" we have the first draft of her original letter.
The mid-island group received a supportive reply from FCA headquarters and the next letter was sent in August of 1989.
The first meeting of the mid-island chapter was held in the Fitzwilliam Street library on September 9, 1989, and the Election of Officers took place a month later on October 7th. The October meeting was attended by Elizabeth Smiley, SFCA, then President of the FCA and Bunty Hays, then Manager of the Federation Gallery in Vancouver.
The Mid-Island Chapter's first Juried show was held in November of that same year at Art 10 Gallery in Country Club Mall. At that time, many of the original members were juried to active status by Elizabeth Smiley and another Signature Member from Victoria. The names of the founding members are familiar ones, and although some of them are no longer with the FCA, all of them deserve our thanks. . . .
Bob Alexander, Mary Arai, Mickey Avis, Edna Bennett, Inger Bloodsworth, Dennis Brown, Marg Bonneau, John Buckingham, Doreen Doerr, John Girard, Shirley Gray, Tony Guppy, Pat Hart, Janette Hart, Cim Mac Donald, Isabel Munson, Anita Pichette, June Raabe, Wendy Robson, Ben Strating, Dorothy Sevcov, Mary Tougas, and Caroline Morrison.
If we have missed the names of any Members who were in that original group, please let us know, and we will be sure to honour them in the next article, The Early Years of the mid-island chapter, which became the Nanaimo Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists.
There is not a single NFCA member who does not know of the tireless work and long time service of Nanaimo chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists past president, Marg Bonneau. In celebrating the 20th anniversary of our chapter, I asked Marg, (our chapter’s seventh president) for anecdotes, stories and little tid-bits of information that might help paint the picture of the unique "culture" of our chapter.
Marg related her initial soiree into the blue collar world that was Nanaimo in the early 80’s. Malaspina Community College had been constructed and the City of Nanaimo had amalgamated with Wellington: tremendous growth in a short period of time. There were several art groups in 1989 (the Nanaimo Art Group, Art 10, the Nanaimo Arts Council); all volunteer groups, with a few hard-working members doing the “lion’s share” of the work.
However, in the opinion of many, Nanaimo was ready for more. In late 80’s Art 10 brought in Tony Onley, Herbert Siebner, Jack Shadbolt, and Brent Heighton, each to do a one man show in the Art 10 Gallery at what was then Harbour Park Mall. Because of the extensive groundwork by a dedicated few, art was becoming valued in our town!
With the inception in of the Nanaimo Federation Chapter in 1989, the community of professional artists continued to grow. What had been a “diamond in the rough” was emerging as a healthy and vibrant artistic community. Of course initiatives came and went. Galleries sprung up and then disappeared just as quickly. But over the course of the 90s, more and more artists, professional and not, moved to our town, seeking the camaraderie of like minds. Some of the founding chapter members not otherwise mentioned, included: Bob Alexander, Mickey Avis, Edna Bennett, Inger Bloodsworth, John Buckingham, Shirley Gray, Tony Guppy, Pat Hart, Janette Hart, Cim Mc Donald, Isabel Munson, June Raabe, Ben Strating, Dorothy Sevcov, Mary Tougas and Carolyn Morrison.
The first few years the Nanaimo Federation chapter was successful, averaging approximately sixty members a year. At that time however, art groups had to apply for space and would be given show opportunities at the discretion of the local Arts Council. This made it difficult to have the same schedule each year; a piece that routinely assists art patrons when planning their attendance. Despite this, the NFCA showed twice yearly and brought many fine artists to the town for demos and workshops. Members have included such well known artists as: Denise and John MacNeil, Fred Peters, Carmen Mongeau, Pat Holland (SFCA), Micki Acierno (SFCA), Dianne Bersea (AFCA), Mark Hobson (SFCA), Gail Johnson (AFCA), Therese Johnson (AFCA), Amie Roman (AFCA), Regina Seib (AFCA), Perrin Sparks (SFCA), Mary Stewart (AFCA) and Vicki Turner (AFCA).
In 1995 a Parksville (Arrowsmith) chapter of the FCA was formed and Nanaimo lost many of its members. A plan had to be devised to rescue the fledgling Nanaimo chapter. “To say that it was on its deathbed is not an understatement”, said Marg Bonneau. Some members thought that Vancouver didn’t like chapters. Other chapter members felt that because they did not live right in Nanaimo, they were being treated differently. All of this was understandable growing pains and the fodder for those who felt the chapter needed new blood and more support from the Federation headquarters in Vancouver. Bob McMurray, the then FCA president in Vancouver, stood behind the Nanaimo chapter and paid for chapter representatives to travel to the AGM in Vancouver so important connections could be made. A 1996 plein air “painting on the water- front” event became one of the many new initiatives of the chapter.
In order for members to participate in the NFCA semi annual shows, the work has to have been accepted by a jury of peers. President Vic Wilson, spearheaded the annual Dorchester non-juried shows and sales (2002 – 2005) which encouraged the work of all members. George Lewshuk of Gallery 223, a long time supporter of the NFCA, hosted several informal shows for the group as well.
Over the next decade work of the chapter members was highlighted in two semi-annual, professional juried shows: one traditionally in the spring and the other in the fall at the Nanaimo Art Gallery locations at the Vancouver Island University and on Commercial Street in downtown Nanaimo. Arguably the most notable of these was held in the summer of 2005. “Island Perspectives”, an all island chapters show, the brain-child of then president, Harold Allanson (AFCA) and member Sherry Mitchell (SFCA), was sponsored by Terasen Gas and featured $5000. in prizes. Renowned wildlife artist and FCA member, Robert Bateman, attended the show, sharing his work with members and stressing the importance of environmental awareness.
In this twentieth year the Nanaimo chapter took on yet another new direction: Legacy 25. To commemorate this special anniversary the 100 plus members decided to give back to their community in another concrete and tangible way. At the opening of the NFCA Fall 2009 juried show, the Nanaimo District Hospital Foundation was presented with a piece of juried art, selected by the members to be donated for the year 2009. This represented the beginning of an annual donation, highlighted in 2013 with the 25 anniversary celebration of the chapter. The donated pieces will become the property of the NDHF, as they fund raise for and furnish the new renal ward and emergency hospital in Nanaimo.
Many thanks need to be extended to the hundreds of chapter members over the years for their dedication to fine art in Nanaimo. Chapter presidents have been: Anita Pichette (1989 – 90), Dennis Brown (1990 – 91), Wendy Robson, John Girard (AFCA) 1994 – 95), Gerda Hoffman (1995 – 97), JoAnne Hillier (1997 – 99), Marg Bonneau (1999 – 2002), Doreen Doerr (2002 – 2003), Harold Allanson (2003), Vic Wilson (2003 – 2005), Judy Brayden, (2005 – 2009) and current president, Rich Williams (2009- ). -Judy Brayden
The Vic Wilson Perpetual Memorial Plaque
The Vic Wilson Perpetual Memorial Plaque honours those NFCA members who have provided consistent, exceptional service to chapter members. Annually, members chosen are presented with their recognition at the first meeting of the calendar year (January). The recognition includes having their names engraved on the plaque as well as honourary lifetime membership in the Chapter. (All FCA regulations must be respected at all times)
It is the responsibility of the chapter president to ensure the safety of the plaque and it is expected to be displayed whenever possible and convenient.
Vic Wilson Memorial Service Award Recipients
2007 Edna Bennett John Buckingham
2008 Tony Guppy John MacNeill
2009 Dorothy Sevcov June Raabe
2010 Harold Allanson Gail deCaux
2011 Marg Bonneau Mary Stewart
2012 Helen Webster Georgette Ganne
2013 Barbara Ann Scott
2014 Tom Hutton
2015 Harold Allanson Kathryn Galvin Helen Webster
2016 Merrily Allanson
2017 Tom Hutton
2018 Claudia Lohmann & Delie Lawley
2019 Josee Duffhues, Jo-Anne Revell & Rose-Marie Requina
2020 Charlotte Mougeot
2021 Trudy Broadley