After nine years as the arts administrator at Rollin Art Centre, Gareth Flostrand is retiring.
The public is invited to a tea for Flostrand at the Rollin Art Centre on Thursday, June 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Flostrand came to Port Alberni in 1966 when her husband left the Canadian Air Force and found a job at MacMillan Bloedel, Alberni Pulp and Paper Division.
Flostrand’s working career has included a baker during university, teaching in the private and public school system, shipping, receiving and office work for T. Eaton’s, office, payroll and collections at Alberni Engineering, office management for Quality Electronics, sales for Write On and finally ending her career as an arts administrator.
She took over the permanent position in July 2002 and has seen many changes. The increased recognition of the arts in our community and of the contribution of the community arts council and Rollin Art Centre has been most rewarding, she says.
The gallery has expanded its showings to include more local artists with a scattering of out-of-town artists. The gift shop has increased with the works of local artists.
Flostrand has also seen participation of the arts community grow during her tenure. Co-operative projects have been satisfying, such as the banner project with Arrowsmith Rotary, workshops with the Wednesday Painters and Days With The Arts with Laureate Beta Iota, to name just a few.
Major fundraisers such as the book sale, garden tour, garden photography contest, Christmas house tour, Tea on the Terrace and the Mystery Dinner were started during her time at the centre, and they have been successful thanks to the public and dedicated volunteers.
Flostrand says her greatest joys have come from being embraced by the many local artists and made to feel so welcomed in the art world, as well as from the positive feedback by local citizens, businesses and officials when approached with one of her many ideas.
She has enjoyed working with the professional artists that have performed in Port Alberni through the Centrestage series as well.
Flostrand says she hopes to see the arts grow into a major part of the tourism industry in the Alberni Valley.
As retirement gives her more time for other joys in life, Flostrand will enjoy time spent with family and friends, traveling, family genealogy and volunteer work.
Flostrand has been the contact we have all come to know at the Rollin Art Centre and the many activities it supports in the community.
She has also been the force behind seeking out grants to support our art centre. We have been lucky to have her.
Contributor Bonnie Brandner is a member of the Community Arts Council of the Alberni Valley.