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Sylvia Grace Borda: The Kissing Project

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

The Oxygen Art Centre is pleased to be hosting Sylvia Grace Borda as artist in residence in the City this Spring through June.
Sylvia Grace Borda is exploring how image-making challenges and enhances our experience of place, time, culture and perception through the delivery of her ‘Kissing Project.’
The artist’s project uses the metaphor and action of a ‘kiss’ as a platform to enhance the existing image of Nelson. She is hoping to make Nelson the interior’s cultural capital of ‘amour’ through her images. Inspired by the Touchstones Museum’s photograph of a Doukhobor couple kissing in downtown Nelson (photographer and couple unknown at this time) during the 1950s, Sylvia believes this image is iconic as Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville by Robert Doiseau, which launched Paris as the great city of love!
Sylvia hopes to use the metaphor and action of a ‘kiss’ to not only enhance the existing image of Nelson but to reflect on how art can add new associative values to a City.
Sylvia is a practicing artist, who has been pioneering the staging of artwork within the Google Street View engine. For this coming proposal, the artist is calling upon Nelson residents to volunteer a staged ‘kiss’ to be recorded in 360’ Resulting images will be both launched as part of the artist’s opening exhibition on June 8 at the Oxygen Art Centre as panorama prints and as interactive pictures for Google online viewing. 
Are you ready to be part of a kissing project?  Everyone is welcomed to be part of it!  Share a kiss on the streets of Nelson, and have an experience of a lifetime captured as a great moment! Interested?  Come out to Sylvia Grace Borda’s talk on February 18th to learn about a history of kissing in art. What better time for this Valentine month?  See you at 4pm at the Oxygen Art Centre or contact the gallery for more info.  Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the artist.
Sylvia Grace Borda is an artist and lecturer. Of note she was the winner of the international 2016 Global award for best media artist, Lumen Prize (2016). Her recent exhibitions include Leeds Digital Art Festival, UK (2017), Man-made, A+D Gallery, London, UK; Ecological Art, Oulu Art Museum, Finland (2015); Camera Histories, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, Scotland (2013-2014); Aerial Fields, Surrey Urban Screen (2013-14); Art House (2013-14), Richmond Public Art Program; as well as being regional respondent for the British Pavilion (Northern Ireland) as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale (2014) events; and guest presenter at Helsinki Photo Week (2016).
She has taught at UBC (2001-2005), Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2005-07), and abroad at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland (2007-2009), University of Salford-Manchester, England (2010) and most recently at the University of Stirling, Scotland (2011-present).  Of note during her time as an educator at Queen’s University Belfast, she delivered the project ‘re-COLLECT-ing’ which was part of a wider initiative that won the UK Times Higher Award for the Arts. The award is the UK equivalent of a Canadian Governor’s General Award, but for Contemporary Visual Arts Education.  

The artist will give a presentation about kissing and art as well as on her contemporary photography practice on Saturday, February 18th at 4pm at the Oxygen Art Centre.  Admission is by donation. Her exhibition, Kissing Project opens June 9th with a reception for the artist on Thursday June 8th from 7-9pm. 

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
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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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