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Day Job: 20 Years of Artists from Opus Kelowna

Day Job Exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery

2014 marks two milestones for Opus Art Supplies. In 1974, owner David van Berckel created a framing business that became the Opus we know today. And in 1994, he expanded that business to the Okanagan with Opus Kelowna.

Over the 20 years that we have been part of the visual arts community in Kelowna, many artists have found Opus to be the ideal "day job" - a place where they could be surrounded with the materials that allowed them to express their creativity, and other artists with whom they could share their knowledge and ideas, and who in turn often shared insights with them.


Wanda Lock, Camping at night: Wedged in Tight, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 in.

While attending an exhibition curated by two former Opus staff and attended by many others, an idea formed to create an show celebrating the work of artists who had found employment with Opus over its 20 year history. The title? Day Job. Curator Neena Sood explains, "Most artists need employment to provide funds to support their expensive art habits. All of us who worked at Opus agree it was one of our better day jobs. Opus is not just a retail store, it is a family. We have formed life-long friendships with our fellow staff members, and today our children play together."

Neena took on the task of locating over 25 past and present staff members of Opus Kelowna, culminating in the Day Job exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery featuring work from artists across North America and the world. They have dedicated the show to the memory of the first manager of Opus Kelowna, Richard McClymont.


Heather Hawkshaw, Distraction via Thesaurus, facemount digital print, 11 x 16 in.

The founder of Opus, David van Berckel, offered the following message:

I understand that the goal for many of the creative individuals employed with Opus is to be a full time artist. One of my goals in developing this business over the past 40 years has been to provide an environment where their day job could help them achieve that. I have advocated that our staff should receive excellent training - not just in how to conduct a transaction, but also in areas that will help further their personal art practice. We continually hear from our staff that they have learned more about art materials in one year of working with Opus than in all their years of art education and my hope is that that knowledge is transferred to their own artwork. The Day Job exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery is certainly a validation of this.

Staff currently working at Opus Kelowna are very excited about this show. Seeing the work of their former colleagues plays a part in that, but more so is the opportunity for our customers to view the exhibit. The conversations about visual art, ideas, and materials that current and former staff have had with the artists that frequent our store form relationships; it's wonderful that our customers will have the chance to see the work of someone who may have helped them break through in their practice, and to find they may have helped do the same. I'm proud to know that the skilled individuals in this exhibition are continuing to contribute to their community through the medium of visual art.

- David van Berckel, President, Opus Art Supplies


Trina Ganson, Traveling Worm, Lino Block, 24 x 36 in.

In her curator's statement for the exhibition, Neena wrote:

Gertrude Stein held salons in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Great minds of art and literature, such as Picasso and Hemingway, met there to argue and share ideas and push forward modern culture. In many ways, Opus is the present-day equivalent of the salon in Kelowna. If you work there long enough, you will meet every art student and instructor, from elementary to university, in the Okanagan. All of the local artists come in and numerous lively discussions ensue. Many regular customers become friends. Staff delight in their accomplishments and share in their sorrows. Over the years we have witnessed births, deaths, and marriages amongst the staff. Opus plays a vital role in the art community in Kelowna. It is a day job I am proud to have had.

All of us here at Opus are proud of the accomplishments of the artists that have spent their days with us over the past 20 years at Opus Kelowna, and over the past 40 years in our history as part of the visual arts community. We look forward to the next 20 years and beyond.

Day Job Exhibit Opening Night at the Kelowna Art Gallery

Opus Staff, past and present, as the opening reception for Day Job at the Kelowna Art Gallery.


Day Job: Works by artists who have been employed a Opus Art Supplies, Kelowna over the last 20 years is at the Kelowna Art Gallery's The Front project space from Saturday, January 18 to Sunday, March 2, 2014. Curated by Neena Sood.

Exhibition Details / Online Exhibition Catalogue Format: PDF Size: 4.7MB

Location

1315 Water Street
Kelowna, BC, V1Y 9R3
Canada

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