drawing above by Andrea Eggenberger
We the members and friends of Xchanges Artists’ Gallery and Studios are grateful for the opportunity to undertake and share our creative work on the unceded Coast Salish territories located in the traditional territories of the Lkwungen speaking peoples, the Esquimalt and Songhees nations.
As neighbours and friends we work to create a culture in which the truth is spoken, concerns are acknowledged, and where we are united in a vision of our shared future.
We acknowledge our traditional hosts and strive to honour them by sharing and nurturing an inclusive, creative spirit through all of our activities and relationships.
Being an artist is never just about making art. Finding good affordable studio space, developing your techniques and practice, exhibiting your work, and connecting with artists who inspire you… these are all part and parcel of being an artist. Artists never exist alone. The lifeblood of sustaining your art practice is finding a community that supports you in the journey of making art.
Welcome to Xchanges Gallery and Studios, Canada’s oldest artist-run-centre.
The spirit that gave birth to Xchanges began over 50 years ago. A small group of artists envisioned a way to meet the challenges of being an artist. Xchanges persists because it continues to provides support for many of these challenges. This vision rests on solid bones in a structure that has carried it forward through changes over the years to today.
As a non-profit charity Xchanges is committed to being of service to the greater community through its artistic and gallery goals and developing its people and supporting creativity. The mandate of Xchanges, as contained within the society’s constitution, are:
To operate, maintain, and manage a cooperatively maintained artist-run centre for the following purposes:
1) To provide studios to practicing visual artists at affordable rents;
2) To provide a public gallery for local and regional artists for solo, group and curated exhibitions and other art related functions and events; and
3) To promote and support the endeavors of the local artistic community for the benefit of the public at large, within the resources available to the Society.
During our Strategic Planning sessions we re-envisioned our purpose and vision for the future:
We are an organization run by local artists to support artists in their creative pursuits by providing affordable studios, exhibition opportunities in a collaborative and interactive environment. We believe in sharing creative experience and inspiration among our community.
Xchanges by 2020: We have evolved our programming to develop partnerships, increase our collaborative opportunities with the public and our colleagues, to improve our outreach, and enhance our interactions in the wider arts community.
Xchanges Governance & Operations
Board of Directors
Xchanges Board of Directors is a group of volunteers dedicated to the idea that as artists “together we become stronger.” Very much a ‘working board’, regular monthly meetings ensure their involvement in all aspects of managing Xchanges. Together with members and advisors, the Board plans for the future.
All Xchanges members are encouraged to attend meetings of their Board and are welcome to join or strike up new committees. Check out the Volunteer page for Opportunities.
Strategic Planning & Direction
Reports and Documents
Diversity, Equity, and Decolonization Statement
2020/21 – Living Policy Document adopted at the 2021 AGM by members
Xchanges Executive Officers for 2021–2022
President: Heidi Bergstrom, MA, BFA
Heidi Bergstrom MA, BFA is a multimedia visual artist and cultural researcher practicing on the unceded territories of the Scia’new (Beecher Bay First Nation) known as Metchosin, near Victoria, BC, Canada. Her fine art practice and exhibitions include works in painting, printmaking, book arts, video and photography and multimedia and community engaged installations. She has exhibited her work in Canada, the United States, and internationally. She is passionate about the arts and community engagement.
Heidi has over twenty-five years of professional experience in the corporate sector and arts-related non-profit sector in community development, and management roles. As a Director in the BC Government for 13 years, she led service management, strategic and corporate planning, cross-government transformation projects, and organizational change management. Heidi’s art studio is in Metchosin, BC, and she has been a member of Xchanges on and off for the past 20 years. This is her second year as President.
Photo: Lisa Graves
Treasurer: Jillan Valpy
Jillan has worked extensively in the arts and heritage sector as a cultural resource management professional. Her mandate and passion are to contextualize and promote relevant artistic and historical experiences that engage and create meaningful interactions between people, concurrently providing opportunities for cultural workers through producing and promoting art and heritage exhibitions and programming.
In addition to a practicing artist and musician, Jillan is a museum worker at a popular Victoria heritage site. She also loves doing research and working on historical restoration projects, being outdoors and gardening.
Jillan has a long-time association with Xchanges since 2004 as a member, a model, past studio member, Gallery Coordinator (2008 – 2011) and Life Drawing Coordinator.
Vice President: Andrea Eggenberger
Andrea Eggenberger is a visual artist, writer, and performer. Her work centers around storytelling and the profound effect of connection. Andrea has worked with non-profits to build meaningful connections in the community through the arts for 10+ years in BC and NB. She studied fine arts at Mt. Allison University and the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) before completing a Diploma in Business Administration at Camosun College, where she is currently pursuing her BBA.
Andrea’s theatre credits include: Dog Sees God (Theatre Inconnu), I Stand Accused (Starry Starry Skies Productions), Originals Showcase (SSSP), Once More with Feeling (SSSP), Little Bird (SSSP), Red, Hot, Cole (Blue Bridge Theatre), Antony & Cleopatra (Windsor Theatre), and Antigone (Windsor Theatre). Her independent film credits include It’s a Man’s World, The Dream Book, and A Family Christmas.
Director, Studio Coordinator: Leigh Wilkins
Leigh’s art practices presently are in painting, photography, and poetic prose. She yearns to be involved in the performing arts. She started painting to express her love when words were not enough. Leigh believes in lifelong learning and admits she has lots to explore and learn in the arts.
She has lived across Canada, with a background in farming, hotel, rail tours, human resources, and retail management. She has a passion for cigars and has worked in the industry, as well as operated her own boutique cigar shop that held private events. Her education is in hotel and tourism management. Leigh has volunteered in organizations in food, farming, and animal welfare.
Leigh has a passion for community engagement and open communication and is loving the whole Community of Xchanges Gallery and Studios.
Director, Gallery Coordinator: Cindy Wright
Cindy Wright has been a member of Xchanges for the last 15 years and has sat on the board previously as a Studio Coordinator and then Gallery Coordinator. She is also a member of Ground Zero Printmakers and has previously sat on that board for 8 years. Additionally, she has had several positions, including President, on the Canadian Outrigger Racing Associations Board of Directors, a National sporting body. She comes to Xchanges with over 20 years of project management experience.
When not at sea or on the water, she can be found in Studio 1 at Xchanges. She is a printmaker and multi-media artist working primarily on paper.
Director: Shannon Holms
Shannon studied Fine Arts at the University of Victoria; Graphic Design and Broadcast Journalism at Camosun College; attended Simon Fraser University and obtained a Bachelor in Applied Sciences with a major in Communications as well as post graduate studies at the University of Los Angeles.
In addition to her artistic practice painting, she has won awards for communications and engagement work: The Silver and Bronze Quill Awards from the International Association of Business Communicators and the Canadian Award for engagement in 2016 from the International Association of Public Participation.
Over her career, Shannon has melded visual arts with other forms of communicative arts. She has worked in a wide range of roles including art director, marketing director, communications director, engagement director as well as a makeup artist, a stage and set designer, mural painter, speech writer and a corporate communications writer until recently pursuing fine arts full time.
Director: Jessica Dearman
Jessica is a Camosun College Visual Art’s student, gallery sitter at the Victoria Arts Council, and a new member of Xchanges. Currently, her art practice is focussed on creating large-scale, mixed-media, interactive works. She is excited to make new connections in the art community of Victoria and to support Xchanges as a future gallery coordinator. Jessica grew up in White Rock but has lived on the island for over 16 years. Jessica’s hobbies include running, biking, surfing, snowboarding and swimming. She also enjoys eating the vegetables she grows in her garden and has a cat named Tuna.
Director: Gregory Varano
Gregory Varano is an international award-winning photographer who currently resides in the District of Sooke,in greater Victoria, BC, Canada. Varano has worked for many English and Italian publications in Canada,United States and Europe. Varano’s work is known for it’s compelling cinematic “Film Noir” style and photo- journalistic approach. In 2016 Varano was the recipient of the Ackland/Weschler Fine Art Award” (Best in Photography) in the 2nd annual “Art Victoria Now” juried exhibition hosted by the “Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria”(CACGV). Varano was also the 2016 recipient of the “District Of Sooke Award” in the 30th annual Sooke Fine Arts show, Vancouver Islands premiere juried art exhibition, Hosted by the “Sooke Fine Arts Society”(SFAS). Varano has been a member of “Gallery 7, A Gallery of Contemporary Art” Toronto, Ontario (2000-2004) and Gallery 44/ Centre For Photography (2004-2008). Varano is a past member of the Crossgrain Photographic Studio Part of the Xchanges Gallery in Victoria, BC.
Isla Spot Light website
Index of Canadian Artists/Directory of Canadian Artist (Visual Arts)
Lens Culture International
LFI Leica International
Fine Art America
Director: Kate Seymour
Kate has been photographing in black and white for over 35 years and earned a Bachelor of Fine Art through the Emily Carr College of Art & Design in Vancouver. She has participated in numerous local venues Iike the Sooke Fine Arts Show, the Sidney Fine Arts Show, the Coast Collective, and Xchanges Gallery. Kate has won several top prizes in the annual Monday Magazine Photo Contest as well as being published in the British magazine, “Black + White Photography”. One of my B&W images won an Ilford sponsored “Image on a Box” competition and was published on an Ilford B&W Photographic Paper box which is distributed internationally. Kate continues to make new work with ongoing projects and prefers to use B&W film and develop and print all of her photographs in a traditional wet darkroom by hand. This labour intensive process ensures that all of her original photographs are limited edition proofs.
Heidi Bergstrom, Barry Herring, Jillan Valpy
Promotions and Outreach Committee
Facebook & Instagram : Heidi Bergstrom
Gallery Newsletter: Rachel Hellner
Community Newsletter: Heidi Bergstrom
Online Calendars: Mark Schmiedl
Publicity Strategy: Shannon Holms
Webmaster: Heidi Bergstrom
Gallery Exhibitions and Community Programs
Main Gallery Coordinator: Cindy Wright
Art Passage Curator: Brian Chandler
Pop-Up Exhibition & Events Coordinator: Barry Herring
Life Drawing Coordinator: Brian Chandler
Studio Coordinator – Operations
Studio Coordinator: Leigh Wilkins