SSAC/AiR resident
Pre-residency: July 8th., 2017 – January 7th. 2018 Residency: January 7th -March 1st.2018

Regan Shrumm is an independent curator who is currently an uninvited guest on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen peoples, now known as Victoria, BC. She received a master of arts in art history and visual studies from the University of Victoria. She has held curatorial positions with Open Space and Legacy Art Gallery in Victoria, British Columbia; the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington; and the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

Residency Proposal

Forgotten Females of Salt Spring Island examines the strong female artists on the island including Florence Walter, Gwen Ruckle, and Sophie King, who have often been discounted in previous historical accounts. These past artists spearheaded a cultural movement that allowed Salt Spring Island to be an artistic destination of the West Coast. This exhibition will also feature a panel with contemporary Salt Spring Island female artists that will examine what it means to be a female artist today and how barriers may have changed since the 1910s.

Outcomes

While in residency, I was interested in exploring the history of Salt Spring while also investigating what made the current island’s community drawn to the arts. Through research done at the Salt Spring Island Archives, I identified four female artists (Florence Walter, Sophie King, Jessie Beryl Weatherell, and Gwen Ruckle) who all were self-taught, lived on the island, and built communities on the island that continue today. This research is reflected in the publication, Forgotten Females of Salt Spring Island. Two more artists (Agnes Ruckle and Maud Lillian Weaver-Bridgman) were connected through community consultation. Through artwork loans by Salt Spring islanders, the exhibition Forgotten Females of Salt Spring Island was on display from February 8 to 28, 2018 at the Salt Spring Island Public Library. By telling these six women’s histories as well as teaching zine-making and Wikipedia-editing, I hope to introduce Salt Spring Islanders to a different view of their history and traditions. These individual stories can easily be swept aside by larger narratives, so by re-shaping narratives in small, but critical ways, different realities can be reflected.

I interviewed 9 artists and arts administrators with those interviews now available through the Salt Spring Island Archives.   http://saltspringarchives.com/artists/.  The publication on the exhibit is now in the collection of the Salt Spring Island Archives, the Salt Spring Public Library, the University of Victoria Library, the University of Victoria Special Collections, the Greater Victoria Public Library, the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
New skills and lessons were taught through the programs and high school classes including describing the skills of a curator, learning about non-traditional arts practices, the faults of archives, Wikipedia editing, and zine-making.

The outcome I am most excited by is the interest of islanders: to think and talk about those artists who influenced their lives. Many people reflected on these stories to me, and I tried to encourage more research, writing, and recording to be done by them.

I created many connections to Salt Spring Islanders that have led to future projects.

Meet the Artist

Outcomes

Presentation to the community and exhibition at the SS library Forgotten Females of Salt Spring , two high school class talks, and three programs (curator’s talk, zine-making workshop, and Wikipedia workshop). Regan also participated in the Curator’s panel that was part of the programming for an art exhibit from Syria for the Salt Spring Arts Council, and as a final event a talk to the Salt Spring Historical Society..

Visit Regan Shrumm website