Summerland’s long and rich history of the visual arts dates from the early 1950s with the founding of the Summerland Art Club to the 1990s with the establishment of the Summerland Community Arts Council (SCAC). During this period numerous art exhibitions were mounted in private homes, church halls and various community spaces. In 1998 the Arts Council moved into the former corporation building on Main Street and over the next several years renovated the facility to include a two-room art gallery, a multi-purpose room, office and storage space.
In 2008, conscious of the need for a permanent art collection which would document the contribution of Summerland artists to the cultural mosaic of the community, the board began the process of establishing a permanent collection. SCAC board member Sue Gibbs and gallery chair Barbara Etter, with the help and encouragement of Glenn Clark, Penticton Art Gallery preparator, set the process in motion. A mission statement, based on the Penticton Art Gallery’s model, was drafted and approved, a committee formed and the work of putting together a permanent art collection with a focus on the work of local artists began. Initially the committee catalogued works already on hand. The collection grew as generous donations of art and money were received. As well, an annual budget meant that some works could be purchased while others could be reframed and re-matted as required.
Today SCAC has a small but stellar collection which includes works by artist Marjorie Croil, the founder of Summerland Art Club; Ivy Mason whose brass rubbings toured Canada in the early 1970s under the auspices of the National Art Gallery; a pastel and pen and ink drawing by internationally acclaimed Summerland artist Irvine Adams, and Bettina Somers’ watercolour and pen and ink sketches created while on tour with Sadler Wells Ballet company. Some of the other artists in the collection – all with a Summerland connection – include Doug Charles, Michael Hermesh, Mike Sime, Bruce Crawford and Bill Hibberd.
Every two years or so, the gallery presents a show that features its permanent collection. Some pieces of the collection hang in the Arts Centre and in 2017 some hung in City Hall offices. When not on display, art in the permanent collection is securely stored at the Summerland Museum.
The Permanent Collection Fund
Along with the current exhibit from the Permanent Collection at the Arts Centre, the Summerland Community Arts Council has also established a special fund to help preserve the Collection and to acquire local works of art in the future.
The Permanent Collection, currently consisting of 50 works of art by 24 artists, reflects the history of artistic achievement in Summerland from the mid-20th century to the present day. Many of these paintings, prints and sculptures have historic associations with our landscape and local personalities.
The Permanent Collection Fund will be dedicated initially to the maintenance, cataloguing, exhibition and storage of the art works already in the collection. As it grows, we hope the fund will provide opportunities to purchase further works by local artists.
You are invited to support the artistic heritage of Summerland by making a donation of any size to the fund. Your generous contribution will be acknowledged with a tax receipt. And since the collection is permanent, please consider the long term in your estate planning and will.
Make cheques payable to the SCAC Permanent Collection Fund, and for further information please contact Susan Gibbs or Sonja Waller at 250 494 4494.