Chilliwack Society for Community Living art show

As soon as Chilliwack Visual Artists’ Association president Judy Hurley realized she had a gap in the gallery schedule, she knew exactly what to do with it.

Open Door, a one-day only exhibit, was born.

Sixty pieces, ranging from charcoal to acrylic, will hang on the walls of the gallery on July 30 in a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Chilliwack Society for Community Living (CSCL).

Best of all, the art springs from the core of what CSCL stands for—the individuals they serve on a daily basis.

These artists hail from a class offered as part of day programming for adults with developmental disabilities.

The art students come through the gallery to see each exhibit, Hurley explains.

“We talked all along about having the students’ work somewhere in the cultural centre,” she says, “but the gallery is always booked up two years in advance.”

But then the gallery was dealt a wild card; at the request of the artist, an upcoming exhibit was pushed back—opening on the Saturday instead of the Thursday, and leaving the gallery free for three days.

“It was such a streak of luck,” Hurley says. “It was too good an opportunity to give up.”

Allowing a day for set-up and another for take-down left Open Door with one full day for display and reception—which CSCL’s Nancy Gauvin says was just perfect.

“I think people will be really, simply amazed by the abilities of some of the individuals we support,” Gauvin says. “This is an interest that they have, a talent that they have—so our goal is to support the passion they have for art.”

Now that art will be on display as a celebration of both the individuals and the organization.

The gallery opens at noon and the day will culminate in a reception in the evening, where the public can mix and mingle with both artists and organizers.

And while this might be the first short-form community exhibit to come to the gallery, with a little more luck it might not be the last.

“It’s the first time we’ve done this, but I hope it opens the door to other similar organizations,” Hurley concludes. “It’s just to raise awareness of what’s going on in the city. The gallery and the cultural centre go a little bit beyond just showing pictures.”

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