Oak Bay Village has its new spring banners installed and for the first time, they are locally designed.
On the initiative of the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association, this year’s banners feature scenes designed by local artists. This is a change, as in the past, the lamp post banners used art selected from a catalogue provided by the company that made the banners. The previous spring banners were five years old and worn out.
“We put the word out through a couple of the clubs in Oak Bay to see if there was any interest in having work by Oak Bay artists featured on the banners,” said Martin Cownden, president, Oak Bay Business Improvement Association. “When we started the banner program 16 years ago it wasn’t option to do something like this.”
Eleven artists submitted work for consideration.
Thanks to modern technology creating new banners has become more affordable.
The committee reviewed the art without knowing who the artists were to ensure selections were impartial. Selections were chosen from two artists: Caroline Hunter’s Sentinel of Anderson Park and Ann Nolte’s Sailboats at Cattle Point.
“We are very happy with the results and look forward to completing all four seasons with the work of local artists,” Cownden said.
Hunter, a lifelong artist originally from Wales, was inspired to capture a prominent Garry oak at Anderson Park on her banner entry that was selected.
“I’ve admired this ‘grandfather’ of all the Garry oaks at the top of Island Road for many years,” Hunter said. “It’s been through the wars and come out stronger,” says Hunter. “I see wisdom in its branches and interest in its shadows. We call it The Sentinel of Anderson Park. It is a subject begging to be painted.”
Hunter received a diploma in design from the Barrett St. College of Design in London, England. Originally from Wales, she moved to Greater Victoria in 1992, continuing to capture the landscapes around her on canvas. Her growing collection of works are in private homes in Victoria, England and Wales and she’s a regular participant in the Oak Bay Artists’ Studio Tour.
Ann Nolte is the other chosen artist. She grew up in the Victoria area and is a longtime Oak Bay resident who attended the Vancouver School of Art and Queen’s University. Later, she worked for Group of Seven’s artist Arthur Lismer at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.
“I love painting outside and the camas is so wonderful at Cattle Point,” Nolte said. “I think it was a Saturday and the Victoria sailing club had a small regatta going on. While I was painting, three ladies came along and I included the lady with the pink coat [in the art] as it matched the sails on one of the boats.”
Nolte’s paintings are featured in homes across Canada and the United States as well as Australia. She has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the London Art Gallery and others.
The retired banners will be donated and repurposed for various projects. The Oak Bay Business Improvement Association represents nearly 100 businesses along Oak Bay Avenue and feeder streets from Foul Bay road to Monterey Avenue.