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.
More history about Xchanges can be seen on our original website here.
If you want to see the Strategic Plan check out the pdf here.
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
Xchanges Executive Officers for 2021–2022
You can read our Annual Report for 2019/2020 here
President: Heidi Bergstrom, MA, BFA
Heidi’s art practice and exhibitions include works in painting to multimedia installations. 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.
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: Gillian Redwood
Gillian Redwood has been a Studio Member of Xchanges for 7 years. Giving up a Graphic Design and Women in Business career to make painting her profession, she helped create a rural Gallery in Wales before moving to Canada in 2004. After several years in the Kootenays running her own Studio-Gallery, Gillian moved to Victoria in 2012. Solo exhibits at the Martin Batchelor Gallery were followed by membership the Gage Gallery. Now on the Executive of Xchanges as Secretary for a second year, she enjoys the shared space and activities of the Art Collective and works hard to support it.
Director: Kathi Thompson
Kathi Thompson is a multi-media artist with art practices that include painting, drawing, photography and ceramics. Kathi brings a range of experience to the Xchanges Board of Director. She was one of the founding members of Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, a collective of studio artists that still runs today. Thompson was a successful gallery and pottery studio owner for fifteen years. She is also a long-time adult educator who has worked in craft development in Northern Inuit communities in Labrador and Nunavut and now runs her own training service, Bridging Difference. She is passionate about artists who collaborate to build community.
Director: 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: Danielle Desjardins
Danielle was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario where she learned English but her first language is French. She has been living in Victoria for almost 16 years with her two cats, two dogs, two children and one husband (not in order of importance)!
Danielle is from a large family of real estate developers and was a realtor broker for almost twenty-one years – so you could say she knows a little bit about real estate! She has worked for nearly six years in the BC Government; her present position relates to contract performance management.
Danielle loves everything about houses, classic cars, gardening, having the people she loves to gather for one of her feasts, and everything that Victoria has to offer.
Director at Large: Chantal New
Chantal is an artist working predominantly in mixed media drawing and installation. Chantal attained her BA in Art+Design from Trinity Western University in 2015 and currently lives and works in Victoria, BC. Her work explores themes of memory, femininity and the intersections between environmental and cultural geographies.
Director at Large: Mark Schmiedl
I’m a studio member at Xchanges, doing online calendar duties for the organization and attending the long pose life drawing sessions whenever possible. I work as an electrician for a living and have done residential, industrial, marine and movie work; currently I am doing marine work.
Heidi Bergstrom, Gillian Redwood, Marlena Salvador, Danielle Desjardins, Barry Herring, Jillan Valpy
Promotions and Outreach Committee
Facebook Events: Heidi Bergstrom
Facebook Posts: Karen Gillmore
Newsletter: Rachel Hellner
Online Calendars: Mark Schmiedl
Print Media: Claire Burgoyne
Webmaster: Ron Gillmore
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: Gillian Redwood