Miranda Chiasson, Tammy Hudgeon and Melinda Wilde (from left) are among the those presenting workshops during the upcoming online edition of Isle of the Arts. (Photos courtesy Miranda Chiasson/Ode Howard/submitted)

Miranda Chiasson, Tammy Hudgeon and Melinda Wilde (from left) are among the those presenting workshops during the upcoming online edition of Isle of the Arts. (Photos courtesy Miranda Chiasson/Ode Howard/submitted)

Gabriola’s Isle of the Arts Festival returns in online form due to COVID-19

Variety of workshops offered that participants can take part in from home

Once again the Gabriola Arts Council is presenting a modified version of its annual Isle of the Arts Festival to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.

Registration begins this week for the 11th annual IOTA Festival, which kicks off on March 31 and runs until April 11.

Festival coordinator Victoria Bamford said there were hopes to be able to offer smaller in-person workshops like last year, but instead the decision was made to hold the entire festival online. Registrants will be participating in the workshops virtually from home and in some cases will be provided art supply kits to help them follow along with the artists.

Miranda Chiasson will be providing soil, fertilizer and seeds to participants in her gardening workshop. Chiasson was a farmer in the Fraser Valley for six years and has been living on Gabriola for the past two months.

She’ll be teaching the basics of a kitchen garden and offering some tips and tricks, and although doing it online will be a new experience for her, the teacher-student interaction should be familiar.

“I can see what they’re doing and they can see what I’m doing and they can still ask lots of questions,” Chiasson said. “The most intimidating part to me actually is teaching it online and I don’t really know what it’s going to look like yet but I hope that it’ll just be the same except through a computer in the middle.”

Bringing technology into the workshops can also be beneficial. IOTA regular Melinda Wilde is leading a watercolour workshop and will be teaching techniques for creating a spring floral bouquet.

She said moving to online will give her participants a better view of the action.

“In-person people tend to gather around the table, and if you’re short or if there’s a lot of people, you’re kind of behind and you’re looking over someone’s shoulder to see what’s going on,” Wilde said. “Whereas this people will see it right there, big. They’ll see just my hands, just what I’m doing on the screen. So in some ways, it’s better.”

The online format also suits Gabriola artist Tammy Hudgeon, who describes herself as “very introverted” and hasn’t wanted to hold workshops with adults in her studio.

Her workshop, Creative Empowerment through Visual Journaling, is based on an online course she’s created. She calls it “a deep dive into creativity and visual journaling and the ways that we stop ourselves and the ways that we can help ourselves move forward to make our mark” and she said presenting it online has been a good fit.

“I’m hearing from people of how relieved they are to find this space where they are allowed to play and express in whatever way feels true for them,” she said. “And that’s all been done online.”

WHAT’S ON … The Gabriola Arts Council presents the 11th annual Isle of the Arts Festival taking place virtually from March 31 to April 11. Registration is open from March 10 to 26 at artsfest.artsgabriola.ca.

RELATED: Gabriola’s Isle of the Arts Festival goes ‘mini’ on 10th anniversary

RELATED: Isle of the Arts Festival returns to Gabriola Island


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

Colwood resident Maria Curcic shows off a one-of-a-kind hat that she created. Curcic is one of several artists that took part in the annual Stinking Fish Studio Tour. (Contributed - Maria Curcic)
Curtain closes on Stinking Fish Studio Tour

The Stinking Fish Studio Tour will live on through the lasting legacy… Continue reading

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Katie Hamilton is one of three Victoria residents receiving a $10,000 podcast production grant from Telus Storyhive. Her podcast, Her Love of Sport, will take listeners through stories from women in the sports industry. (Courtesy of Katie Hamilton)
Three podcasts coming to Victoria following Telus Storyhive grants

Victoria podcasts chosen out of 700 applications to receive $10,000

Nanaimo playwright Anne Nesbitt is presenting a staged reading of her play about Indigenous conservationist Gertrude Bernard, also known as Anahareo (from left). (Photo courtesy Andrew Nesbitt/Riding Mountain National Park)
Island playwright tells the story of Indigenous woman who ‘saved the beaver’

Anne Nesbitt presents ‘Anahareo’ as part of TheatreOne staged reading series

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Sooke author Beverley Elliott is bringing awareness to autism with her newly published book, Greyson’s Shoes. This is the first book Elliott has published, but she intends to create more in the future. (Photo courtesy of Beverly Elliott)
Sooke author shines light on autism in new children’s book

Beverley Elliott hopes book can be used as tool to bring awareness and understanding around autism

From left to right: Vicki Barta, Bruce Ormond, Greg Heide, Gord McInnis, and Charles Harman rehearse via zoom for the upcoming radio play, “Visitor from Planet Zoltan”. (Submitted photo)
Radio plays prove successful for Ladysmith Little Theatre, four more in production

Ladysmith Little Theatre pivoted to producing radio plays during the pandemic

Nanaimo children’s entertainer Steve Romanik, represented by his character Mountain Dweller, is giving away his songs and stories to help raise money for children’s causes. (Photo courtesy Steve Romanik)
Nanaimo children’s entertainer ‘Mountain Dweller’ helping raise money for kids’ causes

Steve Romanik partnering with Nanaimo Child Development Centre, B.C. Children’s Hospital

“Racing Classics” by John Horton depicts sailboats near Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay. The painting will be featured in his <em>Maritime Impressions</em> exhibit at the Winchester Gallery until April 14.
Greater Victoria galleries beckon spring with vibrant, whimsical nature scenes

At The Galleries: look at what’s on display this month

‘We Are All Beautiful’ by Elise Cole and ‘The Modern Thrall’ by Enigye (Happy) Amarkah (from left) are two of the pieces featured in VIU’s Anti-Racism Arts Festival. (Images courtesy the artists)
Vancouver Island University holds first Anti-Racism Arts Festival

Three-day online event to feature visual arts, performance, film and poetry

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)
Moments with Miss Paula creates musical stories for kids

Music and the spoken word from Island pair available on streaming

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

Most Read