Soft Shore: where land and water meet

July 6  – September 1st, 2019



The Oceanside Community Arts Council and the McMillan Arts Centre are thrilled to announce their summer 2019 art installation project. Soft Shore: where land and water meet is an exploration of texture, colours and art methods in celebration of the beauty of the natural ocean shore landscape. Featuring a collaboration of artistic styles and narratives, Soft Shore blends fibre, wood, metal, acrylic, glass and photography in a community’s homage to the spectacular natural scapes of the Oceanside shoreline.

Contributing Artists, Community Partners, and more ↓



Kudos for Soft Shore 2019

“Stunning work and fabulous presentation! BRAVO!”
“Utterly remarkable”
“Beautiful, spiritual show, thank you!”
“Stunning! Mozzafiato!”
“Such a wonderful pleasure!”
“Back again this summer and couldn’t wait to come back to the MAC to see this next exhibit!” “Wonderful!!”
“Love the Herring that didn’t get caught :)!”
“Great show, Jennifer et al! Great galleries and gift shop!”
“Outstanding exhibit!!! “ F/L, Parksville
“Wow!” SD, Nanoose Bay
“Fabulous Show! “ N/M
“Beautiful… “ SM, Nanaimo
“Totally amazing !!!” LM, Snaw Naw As Nation

Meet our sponsors

Opening Ceremony – Prayer and Blessing: Lawrence Mitchell, Councillor, Snaw Naw As Nation

Contributing Artists and Community Partners 

Robert Held

Robert Held Art Glass
Glass Artist, Installation Designer

Robert uses techniques that date back as long ago as 2000 B.C. however, his collections range from classic to contemporary. Some works are inspired by the paintings of famous artists such as Monet and Klimt, while others take inspiration from photographers and even interior designers. Robert’s glass work has been chosen for many prestigious awards and collections. His goblets were selected to grace the table of the Governor General’s “Perfect Setting” and his newest commissioned piece: a glass bowl encasing 23rd karat gold maple leaves and sparkling dichroic glass now sits in Her Majesty’s Royal Collection.

Christopher Smith

Glaskrafter Art Glass

Christopher Smith and his Glaskrafter Art Glass studio has been making fine stained glass, sand carved, fused and cast glass art since 1977. A designer and maker of quality art glass windows, lamps, skylights, doors, entry systems and all manner of kiln worked glass sculpture.

The economic, cultural and spiritual significance of Salmon to the Northwest Coast is reflected in the iconic manner and recognizable image of these fish. In pre-contact society, the abundance of this source of sustenance to the First Peoples was a divine gift from the Creator, harvested and used with great respect for it’s origin. The image of spawning salmon, fighting through great cataracts and rapids, providing themselves to the bears, eagles, wolves and later in their death after a successful spawn, providing nutrients to the roots of the great giant fir, spruce and cedar of the coastal rain forest, is a powerful one.  

 The settler culture soon found great wealth in the abundance of fish and plentiful timber. Communities sprung up, up and down the coast, to capitalize on these resources. In fact the modern economy of the Northwest Coast is built on fish and timber.

 It is the spiritual aspect of the Salmon that give me inspiration. Each individual fish, one of millions, has that aura of immortality, of a life given with a purpose, sustaining and enriching the other lives it contacts. Truly a gift from God.

I make the Glass Salmon, not to reproduce the fish but to create a likeness in glass that is ‘glass with a Salmon appearing’. Each Glass Salmon is an individual, one of a kind. I do seriously try to make each fish a recognizable species and sex, with appropriate colouration. But I make them as glassy as possible and each individual has a personality and spirit.

Haa’Yuups (Ron Hamilton)

Nuu-Cha-Nulth first nations

Haa’Yuups has been considered a leading Indigenous artist, scholar and historian for more than three decades now. He has previously worked with officials from the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., London’s British Museum, Paris’ Musee de l’Homme and Mexico’s Museo Nacional de Antropologia.

Nelson Shaw, Steel Artist

Blue Heron Steel Studio

Nelson creates a wide range of hand-crafted, steel sculpture and specializes in abstract art, home decor, and garden accents. 

Ray Bob, Painter

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation

With thanks to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, this original and unique piece created specifically for Soft Shore.


Original Painting 
Snaw-Na-Was Nation artist ʕMahtni-Raymond of the Nanoose First Nation has created this one-of-a-kind painting which depicts a salmon and the moon. In Northwest Coast symbolism, the moon is the protector and guardian of the earth. It watches over us and can change our moods. The salmon is a life source and provider of food for all.

ʕMahtni-Raymond was born in Nanaimo, BC, in the year 1960. He is of Nuu-chah-Nulth and Coast Salish decent. ʕMahtni’s grandfather, Wallace Touchie was a carver and canoe maker.

Much of ʕMahtni’s work is done on red cedar and yellow cedar-panelling, using the natural colors of the wood grain. Although ʕMahtni does painting on canvas, he loves the feel of cedar.

ʕMahtni is largely self-taught, much of his work is based on legends of the Pacific Northwest Coast. ʕMahtni has been painting since 1986.

ʕMahtni comes from the House of Niins-si-ya (Wilson Bob).

Joe Bob, Carver

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation

With thanks to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, this original and unique piece created specifically for Soft Shore.

Carved First Nations Salmon
Snaw-Na-Was Nation carver Joe Bob of the Nanoose First Nation has created this yellow cedar salmon carving with traditional colours. In Northwest Coast symbolism the salmon represents a life source and provider of food for all.

tofino,tofino art, art,artist, arthur vickers, serigraph, schooner gallery

Joe Bob is a Coast Salish Carver from the Nanoose Bay area. He began to carve at a young age in 1981. He is the son of Joseph and Dorothy Bob. He comes from a family of carvers. His brothers, uncles and cousins all are traditional first nations carvers.

The Salmon has always been regarded as the provider and life source of the West Coast Native People. The close relationship between salmon and human allows man to transform into salmon.

Joe carved this salmon out of cedar wood, & has painted it with an acrylic paint. Joe credits William Good, Alfred Robertson and Francie Horne for teaching him to become a carver. Joe is also a fisherman and logger but mostly he spends all of his time carving. He has 3 children.

Cristina Mittermeier Photography

Cristina Mittermeier is co-founder of the conservation society, SeaLegacy, a National Geographic contributing photographer, a Sony Artisan of Imagery and the editor of 26 coffee table books on conservation issues. She is the first female photographer to reach 1M followers on Instagram and was a 2018 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. She is acknowledged as one of the most Influential Women in Ocean Conservation in 2018 by Ocean Geographic, and The Men’s Journal recently named her as one of the 18 Most Adventurous Women in the World.

 Cristina lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, with her partner, National Geographic Photographer, and Filmmaker, Paul Nicklen.

Pacific Salmon Foundation

The Pacific Salmon Foundation, founded in 1987, is a federally incorporated non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wild Pacific salmon and their natural habitats in British Columbia and the Yukon.  Operating independently from government, The Foundation facilitates dialogue and undertakes positive initiatives in support of Pacific salmon amongst all levels of government including First Nations; as well as industry, communities, individual volunteers and all fishing interests.

ETHOS Programs

ETHOS presents awesome interactive displays and activities which explore our Oceanside coastline and the ongoing local community projects to protect our unique ocean ecosystems.  These events are free; some require pre-registration. Click on the links for further details and registration information.

August 1-30 Interactive Displays at the MAC – everyone welcome

August 7, 14, 21 – Coastal Stewards Youth Workshops – ages 8-12

August 6, 13, 20 – Beach Walk and Seining – everyone welcome