Heather Hughson has spent many of her days over the past 15 or so years down at Sybil Andrews Cottage in Willow Point as the administrator of the Campbell River Arts Council, but says it’s time to move on and make room in her schedule for other passions. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Heather Hughson has spent many of her days over the past 15 or so years down at Sybil Andrews Cottage in Willow Point as the administrator of the Campbell River Arts Council, but says it’s time to move on and make room in her schedule for other passions. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

End of an era at the Campbell River Arts Council as Heather Hughson retires

‘She has gone way above and beyond what the job called for,’ says organization’s executive director

After 15 years or so of “holding the place together,” according to executive director Ken Blackburn, Heather Hughson is moving on from her administrative role with the Campbell River Arts Council.

“Heather has been absolutely essential to the success of the Campbell River Arts Council over the years,” Blackburn says. “Any director of an organization knows that the health of your organization depends on the people you work with, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one.”

It started innocently enough.

She was waiting for a ride after work one day at her job across the street from Sybil Andrews Cottage in Willow Point, which is managed by the arts council, and decided to pop in and see if there was something she could do to help out as a volunteer.

“I knew about the arts council from being a member and going in the Members’ Show and whatnot, but I really didn’t know much about what they did,” Hughson says. “But one of the big things was that I really didn’t know anybody in town and thought this was a way to meet some fellow artists.”

So they found her some things to do. After all, small not-for-profits can’t just be turning away potential volunteers when they come through the door.

When Blackburn came on as executive director a couple years later, he asked if she’d like a paid position one day per week doing some paperwork he couldn’t find time to get to. She happily accepted – and likely would have done it as part of her volunteer work anyway had she been asked.

And when the organization’s bookkeeper left, her role expanded again.

“It was a really good fit,” she says. “I got to come here and answer the phone and get to know local artists and help out where I could. It was perfect for my skill-set in terms of bookkeeping and just having good attention to detail about all the little fiddly bits.”

“She has gone way above and beyond what the job called for,” Blackburn says. “It was always a very part-time job, but she treated it like a full time job because she’s passionate about it. She cares about the Sybil Andrews Cottage and the property and the role of the arts council within the community, and she brought that passion to her work.”

But now it’s time to move on, she says.

To what? Who can know?

“I’m still going to continue my volunteer work on the board of the Patrons Of The Arts, which is doing good work raising money for the artists of Campbell River,” she says. “And I’ll probably keep volunteering here, too. But really, I’d just like to do some more painting. I haven’t been doing enough painting the last little while. And I wouldn’t mind doing some gardening.

“I might find some other places to volunteer, too,” she continues. “But who can tell? We’ll just have to see how it goes.”

RELATED: New group looks to boost the arts in Campbell River

RELATED: Campbell River Arts Council turns 50, looks to re-examine role in the community


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