Spirit of the Okanagan
(Showcasing Okanagan Valley Artists)
In 2017, over 1.89 million people traveled through the Kelowna International Airport (YLW). Their impressions of the Okanagan Valley (and perhaps even Canada) continue to be influenced by the departure lounge they find themselves in.
It is here that Suk'ʷtəmsqilxʷ West Kelowna Arts Council (SWAC) has partnered jointly with YLW and Skyway Gourmet Ventures to offer Spirit of the Okanagan. This Art Kiosk, featuring over twenty annually juried artists, showcases a breadth of original sculpture, jewelry, First Nations artwork, landscapes and contemporary pieces that celebrate the beauty, values and culture of the Okanagan. It is located in the departure lounge, after Security, surrounded by cafes, shops, a wine cellar and gift shop.
“We’re very happy to support this program as it creates a unique sense of place for our passengers,” said John Devitt, YLW’s Manager of Business Development and Community Relations. “With nearly 2,500 travelers through the departure lounge every day, it’s also a great opportunity for local artists to gain exposure.
The YLW Art Kiosk is made possible by the dedicated work of SWAC Volunteers. Curators Kerry Rawlinson and Irene Scott see it as an opportunity to buy local, Okanagan-themed art for the memories, a place to enjoy beauty, or even just a quiet place to relax out of the traveling crowd.
The annual callout to Thompson Okanagan Artists to have the opportunity for a presence at Kelowna International Airport (YLW) opens 1st November, and runs to 30th November.
All artists residing in the Thompson Okanagan area, from Kamloops to Osoyoos, are welcome to submit their work to be juried for exhibition in the Art Kiosk of the YLW departures lounge.
Please click on “Call to Artists” for further information.
Submittable button will open November 1st.
Artists Currently Exhibiting
(under construction for the new year)
My goal is to create children's literature that encourages creativity, literacy, imagination and celebrates the diversity of our beautiful Okanagan communities.
Kristy Ware is a total kid at heart and has more energy than your average four-year old. She is not afraid to push stereotypical boundaries helping children think outside the box and exploring diversity, authenticity and inclusion.
My painting style is abstract. I’m fascinated by the question; ‘what is life?’ This has led me to look into quantum physics type information, where I became really amazed. I use fluid acrylics to express the idea of life; forming and dissolving, combined with the natural beauty of the Okanagan.
Having graduated from Grant MacEwan University, Visual Communications; Graphic Design in 1988; Gail has created many forms of art since starting her business in the Okanagan in 1998. Murals, artful wall & ceiling finishes, custom artwork and recently, abstract paintings are showcased throughout many homes and businesses in the Okanagan.
Born and raised in the Okanagan, I love to capture and share the natural beauty of our surroundings through the lens of a camera! I can be found hiking, fishing and snowshoeing, always armed with my camera and ready to learn more about the wonderful world of photography!
The Artist has a keen eye for capturing the unique and serene moments in nature. This takes patience and a true love for the Okanagan outdoors and all its creatures. She is passionate about photography and in constant pursuit of knowledge and experience in the craft!
“Riotous Strokes” is a two-word summary of my work. I layer color and irregular brushstrokes in an impressionistic style. There are irregular strokes of interwoven, multilayered colors that harmonize as you step back. I am painting from the heart, capturing the complexity of place.
Anita’s artistic journey really took off with her move to Kelowna, BC from Montreal. The Okanagan valley inspired her to transition from traditional painting styles to more colorful, impressionist pieces. Anita is a full time professional artist; her work can be found in galleries across Canada.
In my felt-making practice I create unique accessories depicting the colours, landscape lines and beauty of the Okanagan landscape. Merino wool is a sensory and versatile medium which allows me to explore natural textures, memories, poetry, patterns and movement in my works.
Carmen is a fiber artist who designs elegant felted accessories. She uses Merino wool and recycled textiles. She loves teaching all ages in English and French. Carmen is a member of Felt::feutre Canada and the Craft Council of B.C. in Vernon.
I love it when design is practical. It is my belief that personal expression through fashion is most rewarding when comfort and versatility are key elements.
Colleen Thomas is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in both metal and textiles. Her work is influenced by the color and landscapes of the beautiful Okanagan Valley. She works and resides in West Kelowna with her family.
As a Kelowna-based artist, I am inspired by the diversity of the Okanagan landscape. I aspire to capture the region's unique colour and light. I want to express how nature fills a need for beauty in our lives. I hike the trails around Kelowna to discover subjects for my art.
Paulette Deyholos is a painter and sculptor based in Kelowna, BC. She earned a B.F.A. from the University of Alberta, and has taught art to children and adults. She spent her youth in Arizona, and Northern BC, and finds inspiration in the mountain, desert, and coastal landscapes of the west.
Inspired by the beautiful landscape and brilliant Okanagan sun, I explore how the sun dazzles what it touches, dances on water and bursts through trees. I find fun ways to hide images of creatures in my work, painting with acrylics in a palate which reflects the colours of our landscape.
Art is a constant in Irene’s life. She treasure teachers and friends, Artists in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia who mentor and inspire her. While teaching theory and technique they nurture the joy in creating art. Presently Art is Irene’s adventure filled with discovery, delight and love.
Painting is my way of celebrating creation. My acrylic pallet mainly consists of blues, greens and ochres found in the sky, water and land. I hope that the light, movement and colour in my paintings stir up an emotional response in the viewer. Art is meant to be an experience.
Jenny Wright is an expressionist/ impressionist acrylic painter. She has a Bachelor of Education degree with major in Art. Jenny's work has been commissioned by a number of local galleries. Jenny is a founding member of The BrushStrokes Club of West Kelowna, and an active member of the FCA.
My inspiration come from the magical and endless beauty of the Okanagan Valley. Every day I see something that inspires creativity and creation. Every season brings a new variety of colour.
Michelle McCullough-Wiebe is and adventurous Soul who is deeply in love with colour and movement. These two things come together in the Alcohol Ink Medium she loves to use in her expressive Art. Her true love of the Okanagan Valley is reflected in the vibrant works of Art she creates.
My art gives voice to the tmixw through the creation of items that make viewers think. Each is a vision brought to reality, both unique and original.
Award winning artist and NAPAT/ Enowkin graduate 2016- Pat has kept actively pursuing art and Nsyilxcen language. Her art is shown valley-wide. A mother, grandmother, artist and advocate for traditions - she is always on the go.
I am an Okanagan First Nations artist. I work with beads and leather. First Nations themes can be seen in my business name “Wiswasca”. though it's not the exact spelling due to keyboard issues, it means “Robin” in Okanagan. I enjoy my work and always strive to improve.
Robin George lives in Penticton and is a member of Penticton Indian Band. She has been beading for approximately 20yrs. She loves to focus on her native American heritage and making sure she tells stories through her beadwork.
In my art I like to capture the beauty and colour of everyday places or objects. With these pieces the Okanagan and its myths and legends are presented artistically through the vibrant colours and natural materials that are at play.
Michele is a multi-media artist that believes that art is play and that play is serious business where different rules apply, and that mundane objects can be transformed into art.
I am best known for large textured vibrant paintings. I completed my degree studying art at UBC, U Vic. and in Australia for a year. My paintings have appeared in various Okanagan magazines and I teach painting for a cruise line. I especially enjoy painting the beauty of the Okanagan.
Theresa Heinrichs lives on Okanagan Lake. She was hired to teach art in Okanagan schools thirty years ago and has been involved in the art world here ever since. She teaches for a cruise line and enjoys painting scenes from around the world but her favorite subject is the Okanagan Valley.
The Four Food Chiefs and the Ogopogo are important figures in syilx/Okanagan oral history. In collaboration with Nathan Greyghost, these works portray elegant forms and eye-catching boldness of indigenous designs, and the level of detail in each piece requires extended contemplation, much like sylix stories.
Matthew Brown is a West Kelowna resident and graduate of UBCO’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program. A perfectionist, his attention for detail is a strong focus in all his work, whether in each individual line or using his fascination with other cultures to imbue a deeper meaning in his pieces. Nathan Greyghost is his Sylix partner.
I live in a cabin in the woods and am inspired by my surroundings. My artwork has a strong connection to nature, animals, and spirituality. I work mostly with acrylic paint, but I also have a love for ink, oils, and photography.
Nickie graduated from the Alberta College of Art & Design with a BFA in Painting in 2014. By day she runs the Oyama Lake Eco Lodge and by night she teaches art classes in both Vernon and Kelowna.
I want to capture the wonder and joy of the beauty the surrounds us. I want to capture the simplicities of life, nature and friendship. I create art because I love to journey through the lines and colour. My desire is to capture the ‘magic’.
Sara Gagnon was born and raised in Kelowna, B.C. Canada. She comes from a big, creative family and is the only daughter among six brothers. She is primarily self-taught with no formal degree in the arts. Sara is also a passionate teacher who enjoys instructing artists of all ages.
I focus on Okanagan tree of life sculptures with healing gemstones created with repurposed copper wire, and wire wrapped necklaces with beautiful hand-picked local crystals. Proceeds from each tree sales is donated to plant a tree through "One Tree Planted, local art - global cause.
Introduced to the world of art and creativity by her late mother-in-law, art became Lora's life, a way to cope with life's hardships, emotions and anxieties. Her dream is to create and sell beautiful things to beautiful people. She continues to be inspired by the beauty of the Okanagan Valley.
I love the outdoors. My paintings are a visual journal of my adventures. I cannot imagine a time when I was not creating something. I suspect when I retire from creating, my days will be done in this life.
Throughout her paintings, Linda uses a direct approach, incorporating Impressionism & symbolism. Working primarily in acrylics, she continues to explore a wide range of media including pastel, mixed media and watercolor. Her paintings have appeared in exhibits and are collected nationally and internationally. Her most recent awards, Award of Excellence and Gold Award were presented by the FCA.
My creative leaning is towards people and places; the examination of meanings; of the edges & intersects of culture, order/ chaos; nature/ construct; failure/ success; what emerges from people, collectively, and what happens when we’ve disappeared. My favourite mediums currently are watercolours & acrylic pouring.
Kerry Rawlinson is now crafting her second career as a poet and artist. Her poems, fiction & art have won or placed in several international contests and can be discovered in several literary publications. Raised in Zambia, Central Africa, she still wanders around barefoot – but now in the beautiful Okanagan.
Stone is my preferred medium. It allows me translate my ideas into art with ease, and gives my pieces the freedom to become what the stone will allow. My work is inspired by my surroundings and has evolved to reflect the wildlife in the South Okanagan where I live.
I take a holistic approach, I want people who see my art to feel.better... feel better about the world that we live in and feel better about themselves. If my art can, in one small sense make that a little more apparent, I have done my job.
Louise Lambert, Metis Professional Artist: selling internationally, involved with Fine Arts education throughout North America, painting from Wine Country Studios. Louise captures the brilliant kiss of light. Painting Spirit Animals is one of Louise's passions that touch her soul and wonder, she hopes they touch yours as well.
Growing up on British Columbia’s North Coast, Les Dunlop did not come from an artistic background. Les found art in many forms throughout his life, before his initial experience with stone in 2001. In 2014 he moved to Oliver, BC to be closer to his children and grandchildren.
I have always had a passion for the outdoors and the wildlife that surrounds me. I feel a connection working with a natural element, as it is what I'm often depicting. I am inspired everyday by the beauty around me and try to portray that in every piece I do.
Sara Schauerte is a multi-media artist, who's practice includes drawing, painting, and jewelry making, but she has been specializing in pyrography since April 2018. Born in Kelowna, BC much of her inspiration comes from her surrounding environments of the Okanagan and the creatures who live in the area.
I am a First Nations male from the Nlaka’pamux Nation. My art is a union of my love and appreciation of nature and the spirituality of my First Nation beliefs. I depict many of the creatures from around this area as well as through this province.
Terry is First Nations from the Nlaka’pamux Nation. He has spent a majority of his life living in the Okanagan/Similkameen region. He spent two years studying Fine Arts at Fraser Valley College. His art is a union of his love of nature and the spirituality of his First Nation beliefs.
My influences as an artist are everything I see, feel and experience. I take interest in the energy that flows through not only us, but around us. Recreating this energy in my paintings not only adds a visual dimension of interest, but it also keeps me wanting to create.
Michele Shannon is a Canadian artist residing in the Okanagan. In 2002, she recieved a Studio Art Diploma from Capilano University in Vancouver, BC. Her previous experience includes the North Vancouver Arts Council, Kelowna Art Gallery and Kelowna Museums. Shannon’s currently focused on acrylic painting and teaching art classes.
Yolanda de Villiers
I love vibrant colours in heavy doses. As a native from South Africa, I was blessed with blue skies, yellow fields, lavandar coloured Jakaranda trees, wildflowers - a feast for the colour palette - not to mention the eye. I paint in a loose impressionistic style, with confident, bold coloured brush strokes.
Yolanda was born in South Africa, graduated with a law degree and now resides in the Okanagan. She is a self-taught artist spending countless hours learning from professional artists and doing workshops. She paints landscapes with dramatic skies depicting places she holds dear to her heart, florals and modern art.