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FUNdraising drive - Oxygen Art Market + Cabaret: Aliens with Benefits!

Dear lovers of Oxygen, this year Oxygen Art Centre has embarked on some projects that need your support!  After completing over a decade of programming at our current studio location in downtown Nelson and fifteen years as an organization, some systems upgrades are required! 

With a grant secured from Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance along with upcoming fundraising events and donations, we hope to complete some upgrades to our facility that will set our organization up for delivering another decade of awesome programming.  Upgrades include improvements to our Audio/Visual equipment for presentations and exhibitions, as well as sound baffling for the space.

Oxygen Art Centre is a non-profit society, community arts organization and Artist Run Centre.  Much of our programming including exhibitions, artist talks, literary and art events, is free to attend or by donation!  Please help us to continue to be a viable venue for presenting contemporary arts programming to Nelson and area audiences.

To support Oxygen Art Centre's fundraising drive consider buying some art at the Oxygen Art Market this weekend and/or attending the June Cabaret - Aliens with Benefits!  (More details below...) 

Donations can also be made to Oxygen Art Centre by cheque or through the Canada Helps website (
Charitable tax receipts are issued for donations.

Thank you for your interest and support!  This is for you...

The 10th Anniversary Oxygen Art Centre Cabaret fundraiser!

Aliens with Benefits: A Cabaret for the (Pre existing) Human Condition

Thursday and Friday, June 22 and 23, 2017

The Capitol Theatre

8 PM

Tickets $20 (available soon at Capitol box office or online

The Oxygen Art Centre welcomes back Nicola Harwood to create one of her classic Oxygen Art Centre Cabaret extravaganzas featuring none other then the inimitable Ilse and a cast of unforgettable characters from Cabarets past including: Brahm Taylor as the long suffering Eurotrash Ilse sidekick Klaus, Bessie Wapp as the upside down Alien, Jonnine Mahonen as the Beaver, Krista Lynch as Tatiana, Sydney Black and Lisel Forst as Skidney and Sleazle, Roger Ley as Jesus and featuring acts by Lucas Myers, Thomas Loh, Hiromoto Ida, Geoffrey Ferguson, Tyler James, Bryce Harrison, Graham Jarvis-Lingard, Julie Johnson Murray, Craig Korth and the ever soulful musical stylings of the Oxygen Orkestar.

Come and celebrate 10 years of this amazing artist run centre with some of Nelson’s finest talent.

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The 7th annual Oxygen Art Market opens tonight!

The 7th Annual Oxygen Art Market will take place on

May 26, 27, 28, 2017

Friday 7-10pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am – 5pm

320 Vernon Street (back alley entrance) in Nelson

Every year, the Oxygen Art Market attracts hundreds of art-lovers to the Oxygen Art Centre and it’s no wonder! Over 30 established and emerging Kootenay artists submit their paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and other 2D work for this weekend-long event. The work is hung “Salon” style, in the manner of the Académie des Beaux–Arts exhibitions in Paris at the turn of the century, where work was hung on every available wall space from ceiling to floor. With over 120 pieces on display, the hanging is a major undertaking for the volunteer committee, and it makes for a striking event.

Oxygen Art Market is an opportunity to experience first-hand the breadth of work made by West Kootenay artists, and to get yourself a piece of original, locally-made art! With fifty percent of the sales given to the Oxygen Art Centre, the Art Market has become an important fundraiser for the Centre. Oxygen is governed by a collective of professional visual artists, filmmakers, theatre artists and writers. As one of Canada’s 100 or so artist-run centres, Oxygen shares the common mandate to provide an alternative forum for contemporary art, outside of commercial constraints and interests, while recognizing artists through the payment of professional fees. Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges the support for this event from Columbia Basin Trust and our Business for the Arts sponsors; Hall Printing, Nelson Star and Juice FM, and organizational support from BC Arts Council and Province of BC.

2017 Oxygen Art Market artists include:

Brent Bukowski, Natasha Smith, Carol Wallace, Susan Andrews Grace, Brian Kalbfleisch, Deborah Thompson, Yvonne Munroe, Micheal Graham, Carol Reynolds, Lindsay Dew, Rachel Yoder, Sally Johnston, Boukje Elzinga, Erica Konrad, Stephanie Kellett, Courtenay Anderson, John Cooper, Kiera Zaslove, Sergio Santos, Marilyn McCombe, Heather MacAskill, Sue Parr, Nicole Hobbs, Deirdre McLaughlin, Kate Bridger, Jennifer Lount-Taylor, Selda Canoglu, John Stegman, Michelle Colley, Rick Foulger, Karen Guilbaullt, Matt Holman, Mirja Vahala, Branda Christoffersen

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320 Vernon St (alley entrance)
250 352 6322
Or find us on FaceBook!

Sylvia Grace Borda exhibition opens June 8th!

Kissing Project - Sylvia Grace Borda
Exhibition dates: June 9 – July 8, 2017*
Gallery hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5pm
(*Closed July 1st for Canada Day)
Exhibition opening: Thursday, June 8th from 7- 9pm
ArtWalk opening: June 23rd from 6-9pm
Throughout this Spring, Sylvia Grace Borda has been the artist in residence at the Oxygen Art Centre developing her ‘Kissing Project.’ The artist’s proposal is not what you would expect – she has aimed to create contemporary artworks, celebrating local and cultural values of love and peace, while also capturing a portrait of Nelson residents caught in an embrace for a kiss.
The idea for the project came about through her discovery of a 1950s photograph of a Doukhobor couple kissing in the archives of Touchstones Nelson. The photograph shows the moment of a kiss between a then unknown Doukhobor woman and man. This photograph won the artist’s admiration.  She believes that the image of the Doukhobor kissing couple is particularly iconic and deserves national recognition as does Nelson’s own culture of openness.  The resulting community based art project has been inspired by these intersections, and in the artist’s desire to bring forth in her work a similar message of affection and affinity among the people who call Nelson home.
As part of her residency, Borda gave a public talk in which she illustrated a history of the kiss in art. She suggested through her talk that artistic expressions of affection sometimes surface in times of greatest collective trauma, such as after World War II when the famous “original kissing couple” was photographed by French photographer Robert Doisneau. This iconic photograph helped to elevate Paris out its war torn state and into the romantic capitol of Europe.
Similarly, the kiss can serve as a sign of protest rather than just represent an intimate moment. This is the case when the artist was sleuthing for further information about the image of the “Doukhobor kissing couple” that inspired her art series. The artist was curious as to who the couple were, where was the photograph staged, what were circumstances around the kiss, who was the photographer and why was the photograph taken? With the help of Touchstones Nelson’s archivist, Jean-Philippe Stienne, and the Doukhobor Museum, some information around the photograph has been revealed and a rich history is unfolding. One that curiously places the photograph nicely into the artist’s hypothesis in linking moments of stress with those of affection, war with peace!
Guided by the question, “Can Nelson be the Paris of the north?”, a call for participants was sent out in late winter. The artist invited the public to nominate kissing partners, places, and to create visual narratives that could be shared with wider audiences as contemporary artworks. The task of photographing the couples happened over a three-day period at locations chosen by the couples ranging from Lakeside park to Pixie’s Candy shop. The process of photography had an additional unique layer in that the couples were photographed in a 360 degree context to be embedded in Google Street View that will bring the scenes to ‘life’ in an accessible way.

The images are both documents of place and diverse portraits of the kissing sitters themselves. There’s a Doukhobor couple celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary, a couple choosing to celebrate a kiss at a childhood haunt, and others embracing their pet or taking along their own poetry. If you ever thought a kiss was a simple act, Borda’s images show a range of emotion and ideas about love, harmony, and even dissent.
Will this be the last of the Kissing Project?  The artist hopes not, she intends to extend the project, funding available to the creation of a Kissing Trail!  Pucker up Nelson!
Join us at the opening and hear more about this story.
Sylvia Grace Borda is a practicing media artist with interests in the development and promotion of Canadian photographic history and visual arts. She has taught at the University of British Columbia and at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her practice has also brought her international opportunities, including Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Stirling in Scotland. She has been granted several awards for her exhibition work that is shaping and challenging contemporary photographic expression. More about the artist can be found at
Join us on Thursday, June 8th at the Oxygen Art Centre for an opening reception and launch of the exhibition, the Kissing Project . The opening will run from 7-9pm with the artist in attendance. The exhibition will be on display until July 8th. The gallery is open Wednesday - Saturday from 1-5pm. The exhibition will participate in the June art walk on the 23rd when the gallery will be open from 6-9pm.

Photo Credit:
(Top) John and Theresa Southam, Waits News, Baker Street (2017)

(Bottom) Amelia Bressey Chapman, Suki (dog), and Mariposa Bressey, Historic Town photo murals, Baker Street (2017)

Photographer: Sylvia Grace Borda

Image: Touchstones Nelson. Doukhobor couple kissing each other. Accession no. 2008.023.320. Photographer unknown.  Courtesy of Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History

320 Vernon St (alley entrance)
250 352 6322
Or find us on FaceBook!

Summer Art Camps announced!

WEEK 1 (July 10-14, 2017):

ART CAMP with Teresa Segstro
July 10-14
9am – noon:  Ages 5-8
Cost $150/week

This week-long camp for children ages 5-8 will explore the wonderful world of art through mixed media projects including drawing, painting, drama, collage and assemblage.  On the last day of camp we invite family and friends to join us for a little party and show & tell in the last half an hour of camp.



Mixed Media Mashup Camp with Natasha Smith
July 10-14
1pm - 4pm: Ages 10-15
Cost $150/week
This week-long camp for children 10-15 years old will explore more experimental, fun approaches to art-making including and combining low-tech printmaking, collage painting, assemblage and the creation of shadow boxes. Using a wide range of materials, acrylic mediums, paint, ink and various application and transfer techniques the group will be encouraged to explore freely the elements and principles of design. In a fun, supportive environment children can develop their skills and nurture their creative spirits. This camp is guaranteed to inspire.



WEEK 2 (July 17-July 21, 2017):

THEATRE CAMPS with Martina Avis

July 17-21, 2017

9am – noon Ages 8-11 - Theatre Workshop acting, games, movement, and performance

Cost $150/week

Learn theatre skills while creating scenes, taking on characters, playing games, and working towards a small performance.  On the last day of camp, we invite family and friends to join us for a little party and short presentation of our cumulative efforts in the last half hour of camp.
2pm-5pm Ages 12-18 Shakespeare Performance: Romeo & Juliet

Cost $170/week

Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet: A tale of hatred, lust, murder, sword-fights, and, yes, romance. Tackle Shakespeare’s tragedy (abridged) with fast-paced movement, drama, and stage combat.  On the last day of camp we will give a 7pm show for family, friends, and the public.  


Did you know that Oxygen Art Centre has a volunteer credit program that can be used towards reduced tuition costs?  Some scholarships are also available for help with accessing programming.  Students traveling in for camps from outside of the Nelson area are automatically eligible for 25% off camp tuition!

Oxygen Art Centre is a not for profit, community arts organization and artist run centre.  Contact us to find out about what the options are to help with accessing our arts education programming. E:

Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges support for its Arts Education Programming from the Province of British Columbia, Nelson and District Credit Union, British Columbia Arts Council and Business for the Arts sponsors; Hall Printing and Nelson Star


Martina Avis

Martina Avis is a local theatre practitioner. She has a BA in Theatre from the University of Victoria  and takes a special interest in community and youth projects.  She has studied, trained in, and performed Shakespeare in many venues and has directed youth adaptations of his plays featuring Shakespeare’s original language, fast-paced movement, hilarity and exuberance.

Teresa Segstro

Teresa Segstro has owned her own preschool and fostered a love of art with the young children she teaches for the past 30 years. She has taken several adult classes through Oxygen Art Centre, and enjoys exploring art herself.  She believes every child is an artist and we just need to nurture them. Come explore collaging, water color painting and mixed media.

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith was born in England and following the completion of her Diploma in Art and Design in her home city of York, she completed her B.A hons in Fine Art Printmaking at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, Scotland.   Natasha emmigrated with her husband in 1995 to Vancouver where she continued her printmaking at Malaspina Printmaking workshop.   After moving to the Kootenays, Natasha began teaching at Kootenay School of the Arts.  Natasha now lives with her family and maintains her studio practice in Passmore, just outside Nelson B.C. and is on the faculty of Oxygen Art Centre.

July Painting Intensive with Deborah Thompson

Summer Arts Intensive: Painting with 2 minds: A painting process workshop with Deborah Thompson

4 days: July 24-27, 9.30am – 3.30pm Monday to Thursday

Course Description: Painting with 2 minds is a four day painting process workshop designed to engage artists of any level in exploring their creative process and in particular the workings of their analytical and intuitive minds! OR how do you get our creative juices moving along and how do we develop our visual language to create meaningful and resolved paintings. We will explore this dualistic quality of creativity through playful exercises, discussions and investigations. We will encourage these two minds to work together in supporting the making of a painting! Each day is designed to build upon the others as we layer our experiences, insights and processes towards a repertoire of tools from which we can invigorate our creative process. Each day will open with painting exercises and explorations and in the afternoon move towards critiques, slide presentations and time for self-directed painting. Sure to be a fun and engaging workshop!!

Course fee: $250  Material fee:  $30 + SEE LIST FOR REQUIRED MATERIALS

Click here to Register ()

Deborah THOMPSON is a Canadian visual artist who resides in Nelson, B.C. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1984 spending her final year of study in Florence, Italy. She then spent a decade teaching and traveling in wilderness environments from East Africa to the North American Arctic during which she received a B.A. in Experiential Education from Prescott College in 1995. She then put roots down in Missoula, Montana to return to her studio practice completing an MFA in painting at the University of Montana in 1997. She was awarded the Fell-Oskins Scholarship (faculty award) two years in a row for her studio work. She has done residencies at the Vermont Studio Centre and the Banff Centre. She now resides in Nelson, B.C where she maintains a studio and exhibition practice, teaches for the Oxygen Art Centre (she is a founding member of the Centre,) and curators for Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History. In 2008 she went to the Netherlands to research medieval altar pieces in Holland. In 2011, she received a Major Project Grant from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance for the research and creation of Bird Woman in which she is exploring the ascetic practices of female mystics in the late middle ages. This spring she is going to Avila, Spain to continue her research focusing on the life and work of Saint Teresa of Avila.

320 Vernon St (alley entrance)
250 352 6322
Or find us on FaceBook!


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