After 13 years at the helm of the Campbell River Art Gallery, executive director Jeanette Taylor has announced her retirement.
Taylor, who came to the Gallery after many years on the curatorial staff at the Museum at Campbell River, has worked in the local cultural sector for decades, so she knew the challenges she would face when she joined the young CR Art Gallery in 2000. After seeing the success story the museum became, she could see what could be accomplished. During her 13 years on the job, she’s seen the CR Art Gallery blossom into the vibrant hive of cultural activity it is today.
Taylor said when she arrived at the gallery, part of the current facility in the Centennial Building had been condemned, and she and curator Manon Staiger, both part-time employees, were crammed into tiny quarters in what is now the Gallery’s storage area. There were a grand total of five volunteers, and the Gallery offered about six exhibitions a year, plus three or four programs.
“I thought, ‘What have I got myself into?’”Taylor said. “But then I realized I just had to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I had been at the Museum and I knew this town and all it could accomplish and I felt the community would support this Gallery.”
During Taylor’s years as executive director, the Gallery has grown exponentially and now boasts four staff members and a stalwart crew of 55 committed and talented volunteers. They offer up to 10 exhibitions a year, and dozens of classes and workshops annually. The Gift Shop and yearly Christmas Market both showcase and support local artisans, and raise funds for the Gallery. The Campbell River Garden and Art Tour and the Wearable Art Fashion Show have become treasured community programs, looked forward to year after year. Taylor said none of it would have been possible without the support of a dedicated board of directors, as well as the volunteers who are the heart of the Gallery.
“From the volunteers, to the board, to the staff, this is the best darn people job I’ve ever been involved with,” she said.
Taylor is fascinated by local history. She’s written four books, and is planning to hit the word processor to create more. She gardens, hikes, kayaks and leads heritage site tours, and plans to do more of all those things in her retirement.
Gallery supporters will be heartened to know that although Taylor won’t be on the job she will still be a member of the Friends of CR Art Gallery and she plans to lend a hand as a volunteer as well.
“I’ll be able to write more, I’ll have more time for my garden and more time for kids and family,” Taylor said. “But I will still be around as a volunteer and Friend of the Gallery.”