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Sylvia Grace Borda artist talk is Saturday, February 18th at 4pm!

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

Calling all kissing couples! This spring the Oxygen Art Centre is hosting Sylvia Grace Borda who will be the artist in residence at various intervals throughout the winter - spring.The acclaimed media artist will be out on the streets of Nelson exploring how an image can challenge and influence our perception and experience of place. Could Nelson be the next city of romance? Grace Borda’s Kissing Project is inspired by the discovery of a 1950’s photography found in the Touchstone archives of a unknown Doukhobor couple kissing in downtown Nelson.    She compares this to the iconic 1950’s photography Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville by Robert Doiseau that launched Paris as the city of love! The artist will add a new dimension to photographic process as she will be embedding her images in Google Street View giving the viewer a 360 degree experience of the moment captured! The artist is well known for her integration of new media technologies and their role in shaping contemporary photographic expression.

Touchstones Nelson in collaboration with the Oxygen Art Centre and the artist will be working to discover more about the identity of the unknown kissing couple, the photographer and the location of the kiss.

Sylvia Grace Borda is a practicing media artist with over a decade of lecturing experience in photography and Western art histories. She has previously held teaching positions at the University of British Columbia (2001-2005) and at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2005-07) in which she led undergraduate digital media programs. In 2007, Sylvia was awarded a funded position with the Queen’s University Belfast to launch its new MA Photography program. During her time at Queen’s, she delivered the project ‘re-COLLECT-ing’ which was part of a wider initiative that won the UK Times Higher Award for the Arts. Presently, Sylvia is a Research Associate at the University of Stirling in Scotland and guest lecturer within the International Summer Academic Program.

Sylvia Grace Borda will give a presentation on her contemporary photography practice on Saturday, February 18th at 4pm at the Oxygen Art Centre. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Sylvia Grace Borda as she presents her work and begins her residency on her in Nelson. Admission is by donation. Her residency will culminate in an exhibition, Kissing Project which will open on June 8th.

Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges support for this programming from British Columbia Arts Council, Province of British Columbia, Canada Council for the Arts and Columbia Basin Trust through the Community Initiatives Program for the City of Nelson.

Bio image for Sylvia Grace Borda
photo credit: collaborative between Google Trusted Photographer, John M Lynch and Sylvia Grace Borda. Google Series, Farm Tableaux  2014 location: Medomist Farm, Surrey, BC

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

Free writing workshop for youth with Mitchell Scott!
Oxygen Art Centre’s 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival is thrilled to be able to offer a free writing workshop for youth with Mitchell Scott.  The workshop takes place on Saturday, February 25th from 3-5pm at Oxygen Art Centre.  Mitchell Scott is Editor-In-Chief of the award winning Kootenay Mountain Culture and Coast Mountain Culture Magazines.  His career as a writer and creative professional spans 20 years.  Scott has developed a new workshop for the festival called "Idea Farming” and describes it as follows:

Ideas flood our minds every day. Projects, stories, movies, web shorts, blogs, podcasts, books, talks, for the creatively inclined, they seem to never stop. But in the mind they exist in a sort of nebulous trance, we see them but can’t necessarily clearly articulate them. But there is hope. There is not a more powerful tool when it comes to taking the grandest of our ideas and turning them into reality, than writing. Join writer and editor Mitchell Scott in a workshop focused entirely on bringing your musings on to the page and into the world of the readable. Get inspired, create structure, and begin to construct the foundations of your ideas. Bring them one giant step closer to coming alive.
West Kootenay youth between the ages of 15 – 29, are invited to attend this free workshop at Oxygen Art Centre.  The centre is located in Nelson at 320 Vernon Street (enter from the back alley).  Drop-ins are welcome but space is limited.  Youth can register ahead of time to ensure a place in the workshop by emailing
One of the goals of Oxygen Art Centre’s annual Youth Arts Festival is to benefit youth by providing a venue and infrastructure to celebrate youth arts, as well as providing workshops that develop skills, educate and inform youth about professional art practices. 

Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges festival supporters; British Columbia Arts Council, Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Osprey Community Foundation, Can-Filters, Kootenay Co-op, Thor’s Pizza, Nelson & District Youth Centre, City of Nelson and Business for the Arts sponsors Hall Printing, Juice FM, Nelson Star and 

Please help spread the word about the workshop! 
FaceBook event for workshop:

Youth Arts Festival information is online at:
Follow programming on the Facebook festival page:

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

Communities join together for Project Soul
Photo credit: Project Soul, 2015 Keystone Foto Ltd.

Hip Hop dance group Project Soul are coming to the Kootenays bringing performances, workshops and community outreach to Nelson and Trail, under the umbrella of the 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival.  Under the direction of choreographer Kim Sato, Project Soul is a troupe of talented, professional artists who have come together to spread their love of street dance.  They will be performing their show ‘Back to Basics’ at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson on Friday, February 24th and at The Bailey Theatre in Trail on Wednesday, March 1st.  The performances will also include opening acts by our young Kootenay dancers!  For Nelson’s performance, Dance Fusion’s Hip Hop and Break Dance classes get the exciting opportunity to open for Project Soul and for Trail’s performance, Steps Dance Centre and Youth Action Network Rossland dancers open the show.  Tickets are $5 (ages 29 and under) and $10 Adults and are available at the theatres.
Project Soul will also be doing a demo and talk back at LV Rogers and JL Crowe high schools during their time here, as well as offering free dance workshops for youth!  Then on Sunday February 26th from 3-5pm at Nelson and District Youth Centre, Project Soul will lead an all ages cypher (a cypher is a Hip Hop term for a dance circle where dancers freestyle).  Erica Dee will MC the cypher and will DJ along with DJ Fluxo, and there will be special guest Hip Hop dancers and singers in attendance!  Everyone is welcome to attend the cypher and we encourage the Hip Hop communities in Trail, Rossland and anywhere in the West Kootenays, to come dance with Nelson’s in what we hope is just the beginning for closer creative ties between our communities. (For more info visit
The initiative to bring Project Soul to Nelson and Trail, and to deliver this exciting programming, is the result of a special collaboration between cities and their art communities, working together to enhance Oxygen Art Centre’s 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival.  Capitol Theatre’s director, Stephanie Fischer and The Bailey Theatre’s manager Nadine Tremblay secured BC Touring Council and BCTC Community Presenter Youth Engagement Program funding for the Project Soul performances, workshops and high school outreach and shared the costs of bringing the group to the Kootenays.  “By joining forces to enhance the festival’s ability to bring in a more regional approach to programming, we are able to achieve a lot more than by working in isolation” says Miriam Needoba, Oxygen Art Centre’s director.  “Also by bringing in acts from outside the region with specialty skills and professional experiences not always found in more rural and isolated communities such as ours, the whole community benefits.”  Oxygen Art Centre also secured funding for the cypher dance circle event from BC Arts Council, Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Osprey Community Foundation and festival sponsors Can-Filters, who have also funded the purchase of a dance floor for the event, that will then be available for use at all future cypher events. 
Community support of this programming continues with Nelson’s Dance Umbrella, Trail’s Steps Dance Centre and Rossland’s Kootenay Danceworks Studio who have all donated their studios for the free dance workshops for youth.  Columbia Power is sponsoring Project Soul programming in Trail.  The City of Nelson has donated the use of the Nelson and District Youth Centre for the cypher.  Dance Fusion’s Slava Doval is coordinating Project Soul’s visit to Nelson and also suggested bringing the group here in the first place, citing a special interest in the holistic approach Hip Hop Culture has towards not just dance and music but in community.  This community-based approach is something that Hip Hop dancer and visual artist Amber Santos has been dedicated to developing in Nelson for the past eight years along with Martine Hvzeda and others, who have all been working to get regular cypher events happening.  According to Santos, “We want to encourage dancers of any style to freestyle! Usually bboys and bgirls, but also house dancers, lockers, poppers, lyrical hip hop, krump and other kinds of urban dance. Bboys and bgirls challenge each other and dialogue through dance. Everyone in the cypher holds the energy and keeps it hype. Respect is the rule. Working on musicality, creativity and owning your dance!” 
The goals of Oxygen Art Centre’s annual Youth Arts Festival are to encourage youth to pursue their artistic talents and interests, and those of their peers in a professional and meaningful way that can be celebrated by the community at large though attendance at the all-ages events.  Everyone is invited to come out and support this important programming initiative and celebrate youth arts culture in our communities!  (Festival information is available at
Group photo: Miriam Needoba, Stephanie Fischer, Slava Doval and Nadine Tremblay

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

Arts Education - Spring/Summer semester announced!

Oxygen Art Centre is thrilled to announce another great semester of Continuing Arts Education!  Spring semester runs March to May and new this year, a summer painting intensive!



For more information about classes or help with registration please contact Oxygen Art Centre at:

P: 250 352 6322  E:


Painting intensive: This Body We Love with Deborah Thompson

4 Classes: March 13-16 9am – 3pm Monday to Thursday

Course Description: This is a 4 day painting intensive that will have students exploring the human figure. Emphasis will be on expression through colour use and creative composition. Areas covered in the curriculum will be colour mixing, compositional layout, light and colour. Some attention will be given to anatomy, proportions and foreshortening. Each day will begin with a series of exercises and demonstrations leading up to a full session of painting from the model. The day will end with a short critique of the day’s work. Painters of any level are welcome.

Course fee: $250  + Material fee:  $50 + SEE LIST FOR REQUIRED MATERIALS
Click here to Register

Weekend Workshop – Beginner’s Brush with Deborah Thompson

2 classes: April 1 & 2, 12 – 4.30pm Saturday and Sunday

Course Description: This two day weekend workshop is a great opportunity to discover painting.
We will begin at the beginning! Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of painting through demonstrations and hands on the brush exercises in paint. The first day students will explore shape, mark, tone and space. The second day students will dive into the vary basics of colour mixing and theory as they apply it to painting. Both conventional and non-conventional approaches will be presented.

Course fee: $120  Material fee:  $30 + SEE LIST FOR REQUIRED MATERIALS
Click here to Register


Folk Band Basics with Catherine McGrath

6 classes: April 2 – May 14, 6.30pm – 8.30pm Sundays
(No class Easter long weekend)

Course Description: Do you love to get together with others to sing and play music but would like to develop your skills so you can contribute more at those campfire and potluck jams?  This course will help you do that by showing how common chord patterns work and by demonstrating simple improvisation techniques.  If you have basic skills on any instrument (ie, you can play at least 6 chords or scales in steady rhythm) then this class is for you.

Course fee: $155 + Material fee: $5
Click here to Register


Writing FLASH! with Rayya Liebich

5 classes: April 3 – May 8, 6 – 8 pm Mondays
(No class Easter long weekend)

Course Description: Explore the fun and trendy genre of flash fiction, which is defined as a story under 1,000 words. Also known as “short shorts,” “miniatures,” “sudden fiction”, “postcard fiction,” or “pocket fiction”, short writing is a wonderful way to tighten your craft and to pay attention to every detail in your writing and editing. We will practice writing both fiction and non-fiction (to include micro-memoirs and even Six-word stories) and read several examples by famous authors to draw inspiration and insight. Peer feedback and take-home tools provided each week. All levels and life experience welcome!

Course fee: $135  Material fee: $5
Click here to Register


Recreating the Everyday with Natasha Smith

6 classes: April 4 – May 9, 5.30-8.30pm Tuesdays

Course Description: Explore various techniques to create interesting visual narratives employing mundane materials of the everyday. Broaden the range of materials used to create an artwork evaluating their inherent properties, current purpose and the potential to alter their form and definition. Through deconstruction, manipulation and combination, everyday materials can be transformed and combined using various techniques to create a shadow box, collage or small assemblage, sculptural works. Various artists will be reviewed that employ this popular contemporary art-making approach.

Course fee: $205 Material fee: $15 + SEE LIST FOR REQUIRED MATERIALS
Click here to Register


Drawing Course – Pencil to Paper with Deborah Thompson

7 classes: April 5 – May 17, 5.30-8.30pm Wednesdays

Course Description: Pencil to Paper is a seven week drawing course. The emphasis of the course will be on the exploration of visual expression through drawing. The development of a foundation of drawing skills from modeling of an object in variety of light conditions to working with an object in space will be integral to the course. Students will build their drawings from a variety of sources including photographs, still life objects, other artists drawings and their imaginations. The use of colour in drawing will be introduced as part of an exploration on narrative drawing. Students of any level experience are welcome to join the course.

Course fee: $225  Material fee: $35 + SEE LIST FOR REQUIRED MATERIALS
Click here to Register


Ease in the Spotlight with Bessie Wapp

4 classes: April 6 – 27, 7 – 9 pm Thursdays

Course description: Got a public presentation coming up? A new song, story, or comedy bit you want to perform? A speach or book tour? In a supportive & fun atmosphere, this class will use theatre games, vocal exercises, and role playing to build confidence & make presenting enjoyable. On the last class we’ll entertain an audience of invited guests.

Course fee: $110 Material fee $5
Click here to Register


Intuitive Painting with Kriya A.J. Shakti

5 classes: April 8 – May 13, 10am -12.30pm Saturdays
(No class Easter long weekend)

Course Description: Intuitive Painting is a process art form; a fun and enriching journey of discovery that leads to unique, vibrant and expressive paintings. Process art releases all preconceived ideas and plans of the final result to embrace the creative process as a path to presence and authentic self-expression. This method combines painting principles and techniques with a playful, spontaneous and bold approach, which opens one to greater creativity and deeper intuition.

Course fee: $155  Material fee:  $35 + SEE LIST FOR REQUIRED MATERIALS
Click here to Register


Intuitive Painting Studio with Kriya A.J. Shakti

5 classes: April 8 – May 13, 1.30pm – 4.30pm Saturdays
(No class Easter long weekend)

Course description: Designed for former and current Intuitive Painting students, this studio is an open space to deepen your painting practice and continue the playful exploration of discovery as you expand your creativity, highten your intuition and witness your unique visual language emerging through painting.

Course fee: $165  Material fee:  $35 + SEE LIST FOR REQUIRED MATERIALS
Click here to Register


Writing BLACKOUT POETRY with Rayya Liebich

1 class: April 9, 1-4pm Sunday

Course Description: Also known as found poetry or erasure, create a poem out of an existing text by removing words on the page to reveal a new message. Using old books, newspapers, magazines and more, have fun playing with the space on the page and get as creative and artistic as you desire. Who knew that blacking out with a Sharpie pen could become an addictive, satisfying, and expressive new habit? All levels, ages 10+ welcome!

Course fee: $55 Material fee: $5
Click here to Register


Art as Soul Medicine with Gabriel Keczan

4 classes: April 23 – May 14, 2-5pm Sunday

Course Description: Art as soul medicine is an art-based group therapy course. This course is an exploration of spontaneous art making in the context of a supportive and therapeutic group setting. Art therapy has a focus on personal process and the intersection of conscious and unconscious dimensions of the artist’s creative and healing journey. We will play with art materials; be with what arises; and hold the process in a safe and supportive group environment as it relates to each artist’s personal journey. We will explore inter-modality by using creative writing and image dialogue in response to content and art objects that are created. No previous art experience required.

Participants are welcome to bring whatever materials they would like to use. Gabriel will provide an assortment of paints, paper, scissors, glue and some brushes.

Course fee: $145  Material fee: $25
Click here to Register


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 for instructor biographies

Click here to Register


Did you know that Oxygen Art Centre has a volunteer credit program that can be used towards reduced tuition costs?  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:

Scholarships are available for Nelson students ages 12 to 19, though the Community Directed Youth Activity Grant Fund administered Cicada Place P: 250-352-9595 ext. 200

Or contact us to help you get connected 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, Nelson Star, Juice FM and

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


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