It’s one of the most celebrated days of the year in the Campbell River arts world.
Each April 19, the community comes together to celebrate one of their own and the legacy she’s left behind.
The City of Campbell River proclaimed April 19 as Sybil Andrews Day in 2007, and Ken Blackburn, executive director of the Campbell River Arts Council, says it’s a great opportunity to celebrate a wonderful lady who really made an impact, not only on the art world, but also on our community.
“It’s just a wonderful day to get together and remind ourselves about how important Sybil was in the international art world, alongside the fact that her cottage has really become a cultural hub here in Campbell River thanks in large part to the city’s investment in the property and their confidence in the work of the arts council,” Blackburn says.
“The cottage is still the only heritage property in town on the Heritage Registry and it really represents how far we’ve come as a community in terms of our outlook on arts and culture that we recognize this story and acknowledge this cottage every year like this.”
Speaking of the cottage, this year’s event is back at Sybil’s cottage in Willow Point after moving to the Museum at Campbell River last year to coincide with a show of her work that was taking place at the same time.
And there’s another special facet to this year’s event, as well.
After almost two years of work, the arts council will be unveiling the finished graphic novel, See With Your Own Eyes: The Sybil Andrews Story.
The graphic novel, Blackburn says, “has been a challenging endeavour.”
Laura Ellyn, the artist initially commissioned with researching and producing the work, Blackburn says, “unfortunately had some health issues and it delayed the process. But people’s health has to come first, and we’ve been patient and have managed to see it through.”
Part of seeing it through meant that local artist Alex Witcombe needed to be brought in to finalize the work.
And thanks to Campbell River Rotary being patient, as well, it’s finally about to be physically printed.
“Rotary agreed to donate the money for the initial printing,” Blackburn says, “and they were very understanding about how everything went and are still willing to give us a cheque, which they will also do Thursday, allowing us to officially place the order for the books.”
Pre-orders for the graphic novel will be taken at Thursday’s event, “and as a bonus, everyone who makes a pre-order will also receive one of our mini cottages,” Blackburn says. The do-it-yourself, fold-up cottages were printed as an arts council fundraiser back in 2016 and the organization is using the ones they still have available as a thank-you to those supporting the new book.
Sybil Andrews Day at the cottage – 2131 South Island Highway – runs from 2 to 4 p.m. April 19.
The public is welcome to stop by and have some cake – donated by Thrifty Foods featuring the cover of See With Your Own Eyes: The Sybil Andrews Story – and celebrate Sybil’s legacy.