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 is a member of:
Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres
Victoria Intercultural Association Community Partnership Network
Canadian Network for Arts and Learning (CNAL)
Canadian Museums Association
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 2022–2023
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 third 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.
Secretary: Christine Scott
Having been encouraged not to go to art school at the age of 16, once retired, Christine enjoyed the opportunity to attend the Vancouver Island School of Art in Victoria. She completed a series of courses including drawing, watercolour, mixed media, design and art history, culminating in a Certificate in Visual Arts in 2009. A number of her watercolours are in private collections and over the years she has produced and sold many art cards with prints of her original works. She has also designed covers for a number of poetry books.
Prior to moving to Victoria with a young family in 1984, Christine had a home-based weaving business in Saint John, New Brunswick, where she mounted a major show of fibre wall hangings and sculptures at the Provincial Museum in 1981. Many of these pieces sold and were subsequently hung in both private and public spaces.
Christine attends Monday life drawing, both in person in the ‘before times’ online during COVID.
She looks forward to getting more involved with Xchanges by taking on the role of board secretary.
Director, Public Engagement and Communications: Johanna Kendall
Johanna Kendall studied fine art at the University of Victoria and the Victoria College of Art. Her art practice includes acrylic and oil painting, pencil and ink drawing, plus a little dabbling in sculpture and photography. Her love of animals and interest in the environment are reflected in her art–she has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences (area of specialty: Conservation Biology) from the University of British Columbia. In addition to making art, Johanna is a freelance writer and editor. Johanna lives in Victoria, B.C.
Director, Studio Coordinator: Joanna Pettit
Joanna Pettit has been making art of one kind or another most of her life, but it’s only been since her retirement in 2011 that she began focusing on painting either in abstract acrylics or realistic water colours. In her abstract art, she works to to evoke a feeling or to spark an emotional memory. Her water colour painting is a more meditative process, where working from photographs, she tries to capture the essence of what caught her eye.
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: 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
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
Web Designer: 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: Vacant