Easter Art Show


The Easter Art Show is a special event presented each year by the Arts Council, opening on Good Friday and features a 10-day exhibition of fine arts by Salt Spring artists working in painting, sculpture and photography. The Show also includes a variety of public events, performances, art talks, demonstrations and more.

12th Annual Easter Art Show 2018 – Portrait of an Island


Portrait of an Island and Upstage Centre: Susan Benson-50 years of Theatre Design will be a totally unique, remarkable and ambitious, double exhibition. The Annex features the Youth Exhibit – works by Salt Spring’s youngest artists.

Portrait of an Island

Susan Benson, RCA

Friday, March 30 – Sunday, April 8, 2018

Portrait of an Island is an exhibition of more than 150 portraits in oil of people who call Salt Spring island home. Susan Benson was originally inspired by Canada 150 celebrations and her desire to create a portrait of Salt Spring through the myriad characters who live here: At the same time celebrating the individuality of islanders and how those individuals come together to form a community.

The 8”x8” portraits will line the walls of Mahon Hall with a few larger portraits interspersed, along with a ticker tape of transcribed text from audio interviews. To provide a dramatic centre point to the exhibition, and to show the individuals as a collective whole (a community), there will also be one giant image of all the portraits, printed onto a transparent film and backlit in the style of stained glass windows. This way both the unique character of each individual and the collective strength and character of the community can be appreciated

Portrait of an Island is seen very much as a study and celebration of the community of Salt Spring, with the focus on people and their stories. To this end there will be an audio loop of interviews with the portrait subjects playing in the hall, revealing their thoughts and impressions of the essence of the island. There will also be a series of performances by a number of those whose faces appear on the walls; well known writers, musicians and artists amongst others.

Susan Benson is well known for her portraiture and painting, with numerous exhibitions on Salt Spring and across Canada. She has a portrait in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery of Canada, and was a semi-finalist in the prestigious BP Portrait Award in London, England. Susan was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts in 1986.

Supported by the Salt Spring Arts Council; The Banff centre for the Arts and Creativity, Paul Fleck Fellowship: and Seth Berkowitz Photography.

Upstage Centre

Susan Benson RCA worked for many years as one of the Canada’s most sought after costume and set designers for theatre, opera and ballet, at Stratford, Banff, and the National Ballet amongst others. She has also created costumes and set designs for major productions in the UK and The US.

To celebrate this body of work there will be an associated Upstage centre. Susan Benson-50 years of Theatre Design. This will feature a fascinating and exhibition: beautiful collection of set models, photographs, costumes, sketches and books, from many of her iconic productions, loaned from collections across Canada, and, in particular from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Youth Exhibit

In the Annex Gallery as part of the Easter Art Show we host the Youth Exhibit. Come and see the work done by students in the schools as part of the Artist in the Classroom. Maureen Proctor has returned to Salt Spring and we are happy to exhibit the work done by her visit to Fernwood Elementary School. As well Laura Keil has been sharing her clay modelling skills with students there by creating clay tiles which will also be on display. Johanna Hoskins shares the work she did with students at Fulford school with wildlife animal watercolors. Other works were created by young people through In House Workshops under the mentorship of Tracy Harrison.

The Youth Exhibit is sponsored by Pharmasave.


This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and our generous community sponsors.