Rossland Public Library board member Richard Kemick and staff member Penny Johnson are showcasing the work of local artists this year, including these stunning watercolours by Tim Peacock. Photo: Jim Bailey.

Rossland library showcases local artists

The first quarter includes works from Rossland artists Tom Peacock, Tom Drescher, and Mark Jeffery

The Rossland Public Library (RPL) is helping out the arts community by lending its walls to local artists.

The library’s blank grey walls were a little overwhelming for staff members Penny Johnson and Gill Eames, so they teamed up with RPL board member Richard Kemick and came up with a plan that would satisfy everyone.

“One of the ways that Penny and I sold this to the board, was how important it was to have a space where people can view original art and not be expected to buy anything,” explained Kemick.

“And to see what contemporary artists in their community are working on.”

The library launched the initiative in November, coordinating with the Rossland Arts Council to recruit local artists that would agree to have their work displayed throughout the library.

“Penny did a really wonderful job of reaching out to the arts community,” said Kemick. “So this is our first showing, and we’re hoping to turn it over four times a year.”

The opening three-month run includes captivating watercolours from Tom Peacock, rustic-charm renderings of Rossland in oil by Tom Drescher, and unique topographical engravings by Mark Jeffery.

“We have a lot of depth in this town and just looking at it, it’s so impressive, and we’re really thrilled how just right off the bat it’s been so successful, and such encouragement from the community,” said Johnson.

With the pandemic affecting almost every facet of life, it has been particularly difficult for artists to show their work with many venues and events either closed or cancelled. The Rossland library is providing an opportunity for artists to show and sell their work and acquire potential commissions as well.

“We’ve had people come in and say, ‘I heard there is art work here,’” said Johnson. “There is even one who called the artist, and said, ‘I love your work and I’d like to order one,’ – so just from their (library) portfolio.”

Already, you can see ‘SOLD’ signs placed discreetly under a couple paintings, which will remain on display until the end of March.

The venue is created for Rossland artists only. Also, due to space restrictions, the artwork has to be hung on the hanging art rails, which can accommodate paintings, engravings, textiles, wall hangings, photographs and other mediums.

The new and unassuming art hanging rail system is another welcome addition. The hanging system can support a number of pieces of art as well as be relocated to highlight different areas of the facility.

“The greatest part of the system is we are able to have a high turnover of art without putting a nail in the wall every time,” said Kemick.

The RPL board will put out the next call for submissions in the second week of February. Interested artists can go online to the Rossland website and fill out the requisite application and waiver or email

“About a year and a half ago, the Rossland library went through an unbelievable renovation,” added Johnson. “It turned an older place into a wonderful welcoming space, and now by adding the art work it makes it even more welcoming, more warm and friendly and vibrant.”

Residents interested in purchasing a piece, can contact the artist directly.

Read more: Stuck on Kootenay culture

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