GAC announces first KGT Artist in Residence

Gabriola Arts Council

Press Release

Wednesday, October 7 2020

The Kasahara Gabriola Trust in conjunction with the Gabriola Arts Council have announced the first awarded KGT Artist Residency. The residency was advertised across the country and the quality of applications was outstanding. The selected artist, Michèle Prevost, is an accomplished artist and both the trust and GAC are thrilled to welcome her to Gabriola

“We were extremely impressed with the quality of the applicants,” says GAC president Jeff Malmgren. “The committee had a difficult time choosing one artist, but Michèle Provost ticked all the boxes.”

Michèle arrived on Gabriola October 6th. She’ll be supported to quarantine for two weeks, but will be able to commence working right away. The Arts Council is excited to welcome her and knows that the community will too. Born in Montreal, she is a long-time resident of the Ottawa area where she first studied and worked as a parliamentary translator before digressing into visual arts. Her list of accomplishments in the art world is long, and she is a veteran of numerous artist residencies.

“I am thrilled for this opportunity to come work for four months in Gabriola,” she says. “I will be developing a long-contemplated project on the pressing subject of aging in our society, hoping to highlight some oft-overlooked positive aspects.”

In a time where distance and isolation have become the norm the attraction of a residency may seem less strong, but a big draw is a change of scenery, which is always conducive to clearing one’s mind and approaching matters. And, like many other artists who applied for the residency and those already here, Michèle found the change to Gabriola particularly appealing. The Trust and GAC look forward to seeing how it inspires her.

About the Kasahara Trust: Toshiko Kasahara came upon Gabriola Island almost by accident, acquiring the oceanfront property as repayment for a loan over 50 years ago. She and her husband dreamed of building on the property, but he died before they could realize it. Undaunted (at 80) Toshiko built the house on the beach.

Her love of the island was matched by her love of the arts. She was curious, passionate, fearless and determined – in almost everything she did. “She wasn’t afraid to ask for what she wanted,” says Peter Baker, manager of the Kasahara Gabriola Trust and Toshiko’s neighbour on the island. “And no wasn’t her favorite answer.” 

That translated into impromptu and insistent invitations to concerts, from guitar instrumentals at house concerts, to “bitch ass folk music” at the Haven.

“At the intermission of the Bitch Ass Folk Music, we asked if she wanted to go home early,” recalls Baker. “Her response was simply ‘oh no!  I like loud noise music!’”

Throughout her life, Toshiko held a strong spirit of adventure. She loved everything the island had to offer – the ocean, the arts and the people. She loved to entertain and – more than anything to connect. The Kasahara Gabriola Trust that she left is a tremendous legacy to this singular, indomitable person who wanted the best for her island home and community. The application process for the next residency will open on October 15, 2020, with more information online at artsgabriola.ca.