In this episode of Art on the Island Maureen Bader talks to former Cortes Island artist Norberto de la Vega, one of the founding members of the Schoolhouse Gallery. Norberto moved to Cortes Island in 1997 from Calgary, but came to Canada from Mexico in 1981.
Norberto started out studying art in the 1960’s in Mexico City with an art degree from Instituto Breviesca de Artes and the Universidad de las Americas. As Norberto’s art is not seen as commercial and he refused to change his subject matter, he had to start another career, in the computer industry, which allowed him to raise his family.
Norberto continues to do the same type of art, with political themes.
The Schoolhouse Gallery had its first opening on June 14, 2019 with the show Wink by Laura Balducci. Iris Steigmann’s show Ice opens on June 28. As the Petals Drift, a group show including Gem Salsberg, Risa Salsberg and Glenna Foerster opens July 12. Hanna Petkau and Frencesca Belcourt’s show Pooling opens July 26. Annie Belcourt’s solo show Evanescent opens August 9 and the last show of the season, Ossa – Divine Structures, with Amy Robertson, Lisa Gibbons, Monika Beal and Donna Naven opens August 21.
Norberto was one of the founding members of the Schoolhouse Gallery and spoke about some of the history of the old Schoolhouse itself, the volunteers and their efforts to get the Old Schoolhouse going as a gallery, as well as the first show and participants. Some, like Kathleen Pemberton have interviewed on this show. Others, such as Stefano Savioli, have now passed away.
Norberto discusses why they wanted to start up the gallery, the difference between the gallery and the Craft Shop and the focus of the gallery. Be sure to listen as Norberto talks about what he used to do as the gallery director and how innovative artists could sometimes be.