Already dreaming about SSNAP 2017

Gulf Islands Driftwood

Gail Sjuberg, Editor, on November 4, 2015

I am not a visual artist. Your average four-year-old could put my stick-man efforts to shame.

I am also not educated in the fine arts, except for some Canadian art history sprinkled into my undergraduate studies a few decades ago.

Despite those two sad facts, one of my favourite things to do locally and beyond is to see fresh new work by talented artists and craftspeople.

That’s why I was a Salt Spring National Art Prize supporter from day one. And when the steering committee revealed its bright pink SSNAP logo and professional promotional materials, I was already in two-thumbs-up mode.

I will never forget the complete manic excitement and body crush of the gala opening evening on Sept. 25, and being instantly aware that this exhibit was a different beast entirely from group exhibits we are accustomed to.

The jury had not assembled “the best” (however that might be defined!) pieces from 1,367 to choose from submitted by more than 800 artists. Instead they had created an exhibit that showed us the state of the fine arts in Canada today: What are artists in various media creating, expressing, documenting? The answer was boldly there in every corner of Mahon Hall.

Another thing I noticed immediately was that work by so many younger artists had been chosen through the blind juried process. It was thrilling to see them attending the SSNAP events and rightly recognized for the execution of their chosen passions.

I’m sure there was ample behind-the-scenes grumbling about SSNAP as it unfolded. That’s an inevitable part of any large-scale undertaking, especially on the first go-round (and always on Salt Spring Island).

But the public face of SSNAP was all about the art, the artists and the role of the visual arts in contemporary society.

I enjoyed so many conversations about specific pieces, read the catalogue from cover to cover, looked up certain artists’ websites to find out more about them, and felt my appetite for more visual arts acutely piqued. I felt sad when I realized the show was over and I wouldn’t be able to see it again.

I could easily have chosen a dozen pieces as a “favourite.” But rather than agonizing too much about the choice I gave my ballot to Holly de Moissac’s Undiminished book after checking out her website. “I believe that in the act of embracing both transience and decay there is an inherent honesty about what it means to be human” is one of the things she has written. I liked that and other words and images on her site, and as a word person her SSNAP piece called to me.

It’s never easy to determine why something touches one more than something else, and over-intellectualization can mar the bliss of the raw feeling, but I want to mention one other piece in the show. I was moved to tears by Jeff Wilson’s acrylic painting of a homeless person with his bicycle called Moving Along, and had to keep looking away from it in order to maintain my composure. It seemed as if everything useful to know about compassion could be gleaned from that painting.

As Wilson explains in his artist’s statement, he wanted to create a positive image to illustrate “the resiliency of marginalized people in the face of adversity.” I think he succeeded brilliantly.

I want to give the warmest of thanks to the Salt Spring Arts Council, SSNAP steering committee and jurors Ian Thomas, Vicky Chainey Gagnon and Holger Kalberg for the no-doubt-insane amount of time devoted to this venture. It was a priceless gift to our community and to the rest of the country.

I can’t wait to see SSNAP 2017.

SSNAP 2017 launches in Victoria BC

The 2017 Salt Spring National Art Prize had its official launch at the Inn At Laurel Point, Victoria, BC.
The Gulf Islands Driftwood covered the event. Photo: Susan Batchelor
Fishbowl Magazine featured an interview with 2015 SSNAP finalist Sophia Burke.

Official SSNAP 2017 Launch

The 2017 Salt Spring National Art Prize launches on Thursday January 12, 10:00am, at the Inn At Laurel Point, Victoria, BC. Guest speakers include the 2015 SSNAP winner Corrie Peters, Gary Holman MLA Saanich North & The Islands, and sponsor of the Jurors’ Choice Awards Stephen P Roberts. Submissions also open on January 12 – see our Submit page for more information and to submit your work to the 2017 Prize.

Galleries West Digital

Our friends at Galleries West magazine have switched to an all-digital publication available exclusively online as a free mini-magazine published every second Tuesday. You can subscribe here to receive an email prompt whenever a new issue is available. Galleries West has been a strong supporter of SSNAP and the arts communities in Western Canada. We’re looking forward to the great possibilities in this digital platform.

Press covers SSNAP winners

Canadian Art magazine features SSNAP winner, Corrie Peters in the news – Tuesday 27 October 2015.

CBC News Manitoba notes “Winnipegger Corrie Peters has won a $10,000 prize for an artwork that uses a representation of a door to explore power structures in our society” – Tuesday 27 October 2015.

SSNAP exhibition in the news

Victoria Times Colonist arts writer and SSNAP Arts panelist Robert Amos impressed by the success of SSNAP – Sunday 11 October 2015.

“Salt Spring National Art Prize tempers Canadian art’s big-city bias”, according to CBC Arts – Wednesday 30 September 2015., Vancouver Island’s events web site, provides detailed information about the exhibition and associated SSNAP events.

Salt Spring National Art Prize Announces Finalists

Fifty-two artists from across Canada have been selected as Finalists for the inaugural Salt Spring National Art Prize. Chosen from over 800 artists and 1,367 works, these artists will contend for $25,000 in prize money. Read the full press release. 14 July 2015 (PDF 77kb)

Canadian art heavyweights weigh in

Prestigious who’s who of Canadian Art to direct the spotlight on the future of The Arts in Canada. 7 July 2015 (PDF 105kb)


Official SSNAP 2017 Launch in Victoria, BC

SSNAP 2017 Press Conference

The Inn At Laurel Point – Victoria – January 12, 2017


The venue is ready.


Gary Holman MLA, Corrie Peters, Ron Crawford, Stephen P Roberts.


SSNAP Director Ron Crawford.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Deirdre Rowland – SSNAP Media Relations Director
(778) 888-9974