Artist Jo-Anne Silverman is hosting a show at the Gage Gallery from March 3 to 21 with a reception on March 8 from 2 to 5 p.m. Behind Silverman are pieces of Joanna Pettit’s from the current show, The Long Way Home, running until Feb. 29. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Artist offers work from new show at a pay-what-you-can rate

Gage Gallery artist to donate proceeds to Cool Aid arts program

An Oak Bay artist who opens her first solo show at Gage Gallery next week is bringing in a unique approach to selling the pieces.

Jo-Anne Silverman’s 16-piece Lush show runs March 3 to 21 at the Gage Gallery, where Silverman has been a member for a year.

It breaks away from her usual style of more detailed work and replaces it with a light-hearted use of luscious, vibrant colours. The change in style was intentional and served as a release from a time of extreme darkness, and the therapeutic aspect has inspired her to give back and help make art accessible to anyone, Silverman said.

The proceeds of the sales will be donated to support Cool Aid Society’s Monday afternoon Community Arts Program, a popular arts initiative that has 15 to 25 regulars who show up every week. The Community Arts Program is a free, open access and low-barrier community event for anyone to attend.

READ MORE: Newest piece of public art ‘sticks’ to Oak Bay Avenue

That’s why Silverman is offering all 16 pieces to the public on a pay-as-you-can basis. It ensures not only that Silverman sells all of it, but that anyone who wants it can access it.

“[The goal] is to invite more people to come and see the art, to come into Gage Gallery, and to be able to afford it,” Silverman said.

She hopes to have a red dot (meaning they’re already sold) on most of the pieces by the opening reception on March 8, at 2 p.m. in the gallery.

Silverman’s Lush is a collection of 10 large pieces and six smaller pieces.

Every dollar donated to Cool Aid’s Community Arts Program goes a long way said Colby Young, program facilitator at the Cool Aid community centre who oversees the Monday arts program.

“The Monday program has been going really strong since June [2019], when we received a $1,000 donation from the Oak Bay Art Club,” Young said. “We were able to purchase professional-grade art supplies. Every bit helps. It means keeping up our art supplies [stock] and also leads to bigger projects.”

Participants range in skill level, and with help from the community, Cool Aid-supported artists have shown their art at the TD Moss Street Paint-In, the Moss Street Market, Bastion Square Market, and other public events, Young noted.

“Some are there because it’s a great way to spend the day, and some because they have a lot of innate talent and they are taking it far,” Young said. “There’s a socio-entrepreneurial aspect as we support the participants taking their art to the next level.”

READ ALSO: Cool Aid Society looks to beautify city with art

Silverman notes that a lot of the traditional art buyers are older now and have established collections, and is hoping to connect with a younger generation who haven’t been able to prioritize original pieces of art for their homes.

“I just want people to enjoy having art and making art like I do,” Silverman said.

For more information about the Community Arts Program and Cool Aid’s downtown community visit www.coolaid.org.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

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