by Kerstin Auer —

After eight successful Winter Artisan Shows, the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council is putting on their first Summer Artisan Show, taking over both the art gallery and the gift shop from June 29 until September 10. In addition to over 30 regular artisans at the shop, there are several new and returning artists and artisans offering their creations to locals and visitors alike. 

Unlike other shows at the art gallery, all items can be purchased and taken immediately, and new items will come in throughout the summer.

“We really want to look after all visitors and the locals who have company coming for the summer,” said Jano Howarth, curator at the Nicola Valley Arts Centre. “We feature over 30 of our wonderful regular artists and artisans and we are encouraging all our regulars to spill over, to bring more stock in, more inventory during the whole summer. And as it sells, they will just replenish. We also have a few people who have been with us before and they have joined us again […] We’ve also got some new artists with us.”

Some of the returning artists are Jolene Czernisz and Judy Myram. Czernisz’s large scale original paintings feature enchanting landscapes, flora and fauna, shown in a range of beautifully muted colours. Myram previously contributed water colour paintings and quilled paper to the Best in Class Art Show, and is now featuring colourful knitted gift bags and totes. Part of the proceeds from her sales will go to FND Hope Canada, a foundation committed to supporting people diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder. 

There are also several new artists and artisans, like woodworker Murray Yurkowski. 

“Murray Yurkowski has a variety of rustic pieces from benches to sofa tables and then some smaller items like angels that can be put out in the garden and little shelves and serving trays and charcuterie trays,” added Howarth. “He sources his wood in Haida Gwaii and Quilchena, and we love getting those backstories.”

Other new artists are Lacey McRae Williams who is working in pastels, Gayani Jayaweera who creates colourful paintings with acrylics on canvas and mixed media on wood, and Christian Bur. Originally hailing from Switzerland, Bur is a long-time Merritt resident who contributed feathers carved from hardwood and adorned with streaks of Abalone. 

The entire gallery and gift shop space has been changed and updated by arts council volunteers for the summer show, and will continue to change throughout the summer. The Nicola Valley Arts Centre is located at 2051 Voght St. next to Kekuli Cafe, and open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. 

In addition to the Summer Artisan Show, the Arts Council is looking forward to a busy summer. Their Art in Motion trailer will be at the Summer Nights Markets every Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. throughout the summer, as well as at select Quilchena Street Markets. The Art in Motion trailer offers a selection of gift shop items, art activities, and games. 

For more information and events, visit the arts council website at