The Kelowna Art Gallery is looking for Okanagan residents with an appetite for improving opportunities for children and youth, good food and an incredible night out.
Previously held in the fall, Appetite for Art, the gallery’s biggest fundraising event of the year, is designed to help raise money for children, youth and educational programming, so anyone and everyone can have a chance to experience what it’s like to be creative.
Kendra Dixson has taught one of the programs at the gallery and says you can see how each hour the kids spend is put to good use.
“Kids are so creative; even more so than adults,” she said. “Kids don’t hold back like adults tend to do. They just dive right in where often the adults can get kind of paralyzed. It’s like they can’t move on to what’s next when they’re stuck.”
Dixson can provide a personal example of why it’s important to foster creativity, whether a young person shows an interest or aptitude or not.
A committed craftsperson well into her 20s, Dixson was the girl you would find decoupaging journals until one day, she fell into a watercolour class that changed her life.
She had already discovered an absolute passion for snowboarding that would dictate where she lived for a solid decade and was basically about following the snow at the time, though she never let her creative side falter. She entered craft fairs each Christmas, selling out of the little postcard paintings she did, unaware her art might prove a vocation.
Then the watercolour class gave rise to a new obsession.
“I knew my painting passion had surpassed snowboarding the day I stayed home to cut mats for my paintings rather than going out on the hill,” she said.
Long story short, she’s now an artist and graphic designer, having only discovered painting when she was 26 years old.
Working out of a studio on Bernard Avenue, she says her work wouldn’t earn her a living entirely, but she’s made a very good run at it all the same, selling 19 paintings in her very first solo show.
Her art hangs is in galleries from Sun Peaks to Fernie, Jasper, Whistler, Tobermory, Nelson and Invermere. And it was also in the Kelowna Art Gallery last winter as she donated 200 small paintings to a collective effort to break the world record for the number of postcard-sized works on display in a gallery.
A crew taking the Youth InSights program saw those works and asked if she could teach, and so Dixson became the watercolour teacher for a six-week session.
Youth InSights is a seven-month after-school art program designed to engage teens, and teachers come in to teach sessions for several weeks at a time. The students have to apply to be in the program and have to apply themselves once they’re in it—and Dixson was thrilled with what they accomplished.
The gallery offers strings of programs from kids summer camps to spring break programming, after-school sessions to Family Sundays, and school tours that allow 8,000 kids to visit the gallery annually. As the funds from Appetite for Art are earmarked for these endeavours, wining and dining for an evening will go toward helping kids, like the ones Dixson taught, to see a whole new world of possibilities.
Award-winning chef and sommelier, Mark Filatow, from Waterfront Wines, will be on hand, as will chef and owner, Rod Butters, from RauDZ Regional Table, and chef and partner, Cameron Smith, from Joy Road Catering.
Five drinks, carefully selected by local premier producers of wines, beer, and spirits, including Tree Brewing Company, Mission Hill Estate Winery, Quail’s Gate Winery, and Okanagan Spirits, will be paired with the chefs’ creations.
And Sugar Sweet Cupcakes, by gallery receptionist and cupcake business owner Lindsey Pearce, will have some impressive desserts.
Upon arrival, guests will be welcomed with a red-carpeted entrance and a glass of sparkling wine.
Performing artists The Darylectones will provide music for the night and works by nearly forty artists, including Dixson, will be displayed throughout the gallery space for guests to bid on. The evening culminates in a live auction of selected works of art and highly valued non-art items such as getaways, tickets to premier events, and dining packages.
Tickets for the Appetite for Art Fundraiser and Art Auction are $100 per person for Kelowna Art Gallery members, and $120 for non-members. They can be purchased directly from the Gallery, online or by calling 250-762-2226.