Kelowna artist Gwen Lamont was instrumental in the development of the arts in the city. (Contributed)

International Women’s Day: Renowned Kelowna artist remembered

Gwen Lamont spent 30 years in Kelowna and is a crucial part of its history

The impact of a renowned Kelowna artist can still be seen today in the city’s cultural district 41 years after her death.

Gwen Lamont spent 30 years in Kelowna and her works of art, along with her legacy, remain a crucial part of the Kelowna Art Gallery.

Born in Macleod, Alta. in 1909, Gwen moved with her husband John and twins Eain and Gwendy to the Central Okanagan from Victoria in the 1940s. She was the original curator of the Kelowna Art Gallery, and was heavily involved with the performing arts scene and the Kelowna Regatta Lady of the Lake pageant.

She also worked as an artist for the Capital News in the 1950s, said her daughter.

“She had a very good understanding of Okanagan history,” Gwendy Lamont said. “She was very willing to explore new methods, and I mean she was involved with puppetry, stage sets.”

Three volumes of her sketches of the Lak-La Hai-Ee Shuswap First Nations community can also be found in the Okanagan Heritage Museum.

READ MORE: Kelowna Art Gallery hosts new exhibition, The Poetics of Space

Gwen taught adult art classes in the community, as well as a children’s Painting in the Park program, according to the Okanagan Heritage Society.

She was also an avid explorer, loved the outdoors and was sensitive to people and their interests, according to her daughter.

“She sometimes said that when she was painting a portrait, she could almost look right into the person’s soul,” said Gwendy.

When Gwendy taught on a First Nations reserve in northern B.C.—and throughout her career as a teacher—she said she used art and sketches, something she got from her mother.

“She was an amazing person and she was exceedingly willing when someone asked her about an art project. She was always willing. She gave her time extensively,” Gwendy said.

There were plenty of places for Gwen and the museum curator at the time, Ursula Surtees, to explore.

“She was very approachable, children just loved to come and watch her (work),” she said.

Gwen Lamont died of cancer in 1978.

It’s important for her to be remembered because of her contribution to local heritage and because people still have an interest in it, Gwendy said.

“I think she loved art and involving children and being involved in some aspect of art and the people she met.”

Gwen is featured as one of the Okanagan’s Inspirational Women featured at the Okanagan Heritage Museum as part of International Women’s Day today.

READ MORE: Balance for better: International Women’s Day recognized in Kelowna

“She was a very interesting person, and had a very broad outlook on life. I think she immersed herself very deeply in the life of Kelowna,” Gwendy said.

Nataley Nagy, current executive director of the Kelowna Art Gallery, said Gwen Lamont was a great example of a practising artist who was dedicated to her community.

“We plan on being here another 100 years,” said Nagy. “So all of our plans when it comes to collecting mean we’re going to be a resource for many years to come, that’s thelegacy. We have a big responsibility on behalf of the City of Kelowna to manage our collection of 881 works of art and it was started by Gwen.”

The tradition carries on 41 years later.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Traffic slows down after pedestrian struck on Richter, Harvey

The incident occurred around 1:04 p.m. on June 4

Kamloops holds Black Lives Matter rally despite cancellation of protest

Organizers announced cancellation of the event after receiving criticism on social media

Undisclosed video evidence comes to light in West Kelowna murder trial

‘They’ve disclosed hundreds of pieces of evidence. Why would this have gotten missed?’ - defence lawyer

S.H.A.R.E. Society reopens downtown thrift shop

The thrift shop is set to reopen on Saturday, June 6

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Mundle transferred to Southeast District

Supt. Brent Mundle spent three and a half years as the commander of the Kelowna detachment

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Helicopter, dogs used in North Okanagan highway arrest

Revelstoke, North Okanagan RCMP team up to nab Alberta man, stolen BMW

Vernon Walmart staffer finds $7K lost by Enderby business owner

Entrepreneur elated after Walmart worker, who lost his own business to COVID, returned lost deposit

Summerland council to continue online meetings

Virtual meetings remain to comply with COVID-19 restrictions

Penticton RCMP arrest man found ‘unlawfully in home’

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them

Shuswap man hosting concert in his driveway

Lamenting the loss of Music in the Park events due to COVID-19, Shane McMahon is putting on a show

Refugee family assists former hosts in effort to stop rising water of Shuswap Lake

Alahmad family spend morning filling sandbags to help protect residences

Summerland not considering allowing alcohol in public spaces

Penticton and North Vancouver have both passed bylaws to relax alcohol consumption rules

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Most Read