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Art in the Garden returns for Year Two

Bowen Garden Club fundraiser supporting seniors housing project this year

The Bowen Island Garden Club is bringing back its Art in the Garden evening for another year.

The event debuted last year following a well-received suggestion by Garden Club member Doug Elliott. The night takes place in a Bowen garden, and pairs socializing with works by local artists, along with wine tastings. The artworks are available for purchase, with partial proceeds going toward an island charity or good cause.

Last year’s inaugural Art in the Garden, hosted by Doug Elliott and Owen Plowman at their home, featured works from around 20 Bowen artists. Guests walk the garden – which in Doug and Owen’s case, in addition to traditional flower and plant displays also contains a classic red telephone box – and consider pieces which may be right for their homes or as gifts. Last year more than $12,000 worth of art was sold, which allowed for $6,000 to be donated to the Bowen Island Conservancy at the end of the night.

“Like every good event it relies on volunteers,” says Elliott about the evening. Garden Club members help with finding artists for the night, along with coordinating food and drink. This year Paul Rickett will be curating Okanagan wines for the guests.

Elliott says he and Owen are eager to host the event for a second year. “People really enjoyed that aspect of seeing friends and chatting and sitting and having a glass of wine on a nice summer evening.”

The beneficiary of this year’s event is Snug Cove House Society. For nearly three decades now the organization has been working toward the creation of a seniors residence on Miller Road, only to experience many pitfalls and roadblocks along the way. When the project looked close to breaking ground last year, an updated construction budget once again priced the plan out of reality.

Soon after however a contractor approached the society with a new plan for the project he felt would be financially viable. Excavation has begun at the site of the future four-floor, 24-unit seniors residence, and a groundbreaking and start to construction is planned for later this year. The building is expected to be complete sometime in 2026.

Graham Ritchie, chair of the society’s board, says the building will offer an alternative to seniors who might otherwise have to leave the island. “It’s going to be safe, comfortable, and above all it’s not going to be separated from the community.”

“This is a really important part of our philosophy, that there’s going to be lots of connection with our community,” says Ritchie, pointing to the health benefits of being able to live somewhere you’re comfortable. “That’s your support system. That’s your friends, your neighbours. It’s where you’re most relaxed.”

Ritchie adds that after so many years of work it can be hard to believe the project is finally coming together. “It feels tentative. It feels wonderful. There’s still some hurdles, but we’ve been jumping hurdles for 27 years. It’s looking really good right now, so it feels excellent.”

Art in the Garden takes place Saturday, July 13 from 7 to 9 pm. Anyone interested in attending can find tickets by going to the Bowen Island Garden Club website. Elliott cautions people not to wait too long though, as tickets are already around two-thirds sold for the evening.