Hundreds return to Brush-Up on Oak Bay’s Bowker Creek

Hundreds return to Brush-Up on Oak Bay’s Bowker Creek

Hundreds of visitors flocked to Bowker Creek on Sunday to admire and purchase the works of more than 30 local artists.

Dozens of stalls lined the walkway adjacent to the creek between Hampshire Road and Armstrong Avenue for the annual Bowker Creek Brush-Up Art Show and Sale. Artists showcased everything from magnetic puzzles and glazed sea urchins to kelp baskets, glue gun art and dog portraits.

“I eventually decided that, if I’m not having fun (painting), it’s probably not working,” remarked artist Brian Simons about his rather unconventional portrait and landscape pieces.

The event, run by the Oak Bay Community Artists Association, included tributary paintings of Discovery Island wolf Takaya, postcards with depictions of Oak Bay and long exposures of foggy Ogden Point and snowy Swan Lake.

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Singer/songwriter Matt Stern and partner Jessica Pickersgill plugged in at the creek to perform a variety of original English- and French-language songs on guitar and violin. The two said they were happy to be outdoors performing for their community.

Along with live music, there was also a barbecue, arts and crafts stall for kids and a Bowker Creek watershed diorama presented by the Peninsula Streams Society. Notable visitors included Mayor Kevin Murdoch, Victoria federal Liberal candidate Nicki MacDonald and Bowker Creek’s beloved resident turtle.

“Everyone is so happy to be out here again,” said Community Artists Society president Flo-Elle Watson.

She was overjoyed by the turnout, believing it to be comparable to the 2019 Brush-Up’s visitor count of over 2,500. She credited news and social media announcements for spreading the word, after last year’s event was cancelled amid COVID-19.

Textile artist Terri Haines, who recently showcased her work with Watson at the society’s art show and sale along St. Ann Street, was happy to be back out under cooler conditions. Permitted by the adjacent resident to hang her quilts on their fence and not required to cope with 40 C weather this time, Haines felt contented to chat with visitors and sell her travel bags, mug rugs and insulated bottle bags amid looser restrictions.

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To learn more about the Community Arts Society, visit

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