Each of these galleries features a wide selection of locally made artwork at a variety of price points. You’ll find no pressure to buy, just creativity and brilliance aplenty to admire, and a warm welcome from people who love to talk about art.
K’ÓMOKS FIRST NATION
Owned and operated by the K’ómoks First Nation, I-Hos Gallery showcases a stunning collection of items designed by Indigenous artists, many of them local to the Island. Since 1995, the gallery has dealt directly with artists from its own Nation and many others, including Cree, Metis, and Ojibway. Gallery manager Ramona Johnson has been involved from the start, and makes a point of treating all the artists with respect. She explains that I-Hos does its best to offer equal opportunity and fair distribution across artists, producers, and Nations. During the pandemic, the gallery expanded its website and created a strong social media presence, but an in-person visit to their beautiful location on the site of the original K’ómoks Village should not be missed.
PEARL ELLIS GALLERY
The mandate of this gallery—which bears the name of one of the original volunteers who helped to found the Comox Arts Society in 1977—has always been to showcase local talent and promote art in the community. It provides many budding artists and students with their first experience having their work on public view; it’s also an ideal space for accomplished local artists to host their own solo show. Whether you want to add an original to your own collection, purchase a gift, or just admire some unique artwork, you’ll be warmly welcomed by the gallery’s volunteer hosts.
SALISH SEA MARKET
The Salish Sea Market was launched in 2010 by three creative women who shared the vision of creating a year-round destination marketplace for artistic expression in all media. The selection on display includes works in paint, ceramic, wood, glass, metal, jewellery, hand-crafted culinary items, fibre, literature, photography, and body care. The gallery’s new owner, Joanne McArthur, intends to continue in this tradition while looking towards the future and growing organically. All pieces are created in the vicinity of the Salish Sea—the unceded territory of Coast Salish First Nations.
SPIRITS OF THE WEST COAST ART GALLERY
Since 2006, Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery has specialized in a large variety of traditional and contemporary Northwest Coast Indigenous artwork and jewellery. With over 100 artists of Haida, Kwakwaka’wakw, Coast Salish, and West Coast descent, the gallery offers a wide selection of native masks, paddles, argillite carvings, sculptures, prints, silver and gold rings, bracelets, pendants, and more. It’s an excellent place to learn more about the art and cultures of the Northwest Coast First Nations and find one-of-a-kind works of art.
ARTFUL : THE GALLERY
Featuring six completely new exhibitions throughout the year, Artful : The Gallery focuses on contemporary emerging and mid-career artists working in a variety of media and methods. This unpretentious, yet inspiring space—established in the chaotic initial days of the pandemic by multimedia artist Kristina Campbell—has oversized couches and chairs that invite you to sit and enjoy the exhibition. Artful : The Gallery provides a welcoming environment for small-venue events such as book launches, poetry readings, musical performances, and creativity workshops. Campbell also offers consultation, curation, commissions, and art hanging services.
ARTWRX STUDIO + GALLERY
First established over 11 years ago as Art Alchemy Studio, ARTWRX Studio + Gallery has evolved over the last year with a new name, brand, and vision as a not-for-profit society where artists support each other to promote creative growth and professionalism. Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or by appointment), visitors can meet artists including Sharon Lalonde, Maggie Ziegler, Anouk Hartwell, Mary Gorman, Lynn Farewell, Larissa McLean, Nicolette Valikoski, Shea Kotilla, and Tara-Lee Houston in the studio to learn more about their creative process. ARTWRX also shows finished work throughout the Comox Valley, including at the Comox Valley Airport from May 2 to October 15, 2022.
SAGE AND TREE GALLERY
Theresa Lambert is the proud founder of Sage and Tree Gallery. First established in Cumberland in 2019, this thriving gallery showcases over 50 artists from across Canada in its current location on 5th Street in Courtenay. The large space features funky and unique items, with everything from clothing and soaps to beadwork and caribou tufting. A lifelong beader and creator herself, Lambert has created an inviting shop that includes Indigenous art among other artisans. She loves to present contemporary pieces that tell the story of how Indigenous artists are using modern technology and materials to build on traditional techniques. The gallery also hosts musicians, art exhibits, and community events and classes where everyone is welcome.
Initially formed in 1974, The Comox Valley Art Gallery is an independent public gallery run by a non-profit society, dedicated to presenting and fostering contemporary art by professional artists from the region, the country, and beyond. SHOP:MADE, its on-site retail outlet, displays and sells the work of hundreds of local artists. Items range from pottery and prints to jewellery, toys, and one-of-a-kind gifts. After a tour through the gallery’s exhibitions, you may be inspired to pick up one of their DIY kits! Through SHOP:MADE and its exhibitions, publications, creative residencies, and education programs, CVAG links the local community to the broader world of contemporary art practice.
CVAG is honoured and grateful to operate on the unceded territory of the K’ómoks First Nation.