Incorporating Art Into Your Professional Development


On October 20 and 21, 2017, teachers from all over British Columbia continued their learning journeys during a province wide Professional Development Day.  Though many ventured off to local specialist conferences, others chose to learn in different ways and in alternate venues.

If you wish to further your knowledge of Indigenous perspectives, and perhaps introduce something new into your classroom, a great alternative experience is to incorporate art into your learning.  There are many traditional and contemporary exhibitions on now at various institutions around BC.  Specifically if you are in the Lower Mainland or on Vancouver Island, you can check out these displays which feature many Coast Salish artists.



Bill Reid Gallery ​

“Intangible:  Memory and Innovation in Coast Salish Artist” (until Dec. 10, 2017)

Contemporary Coast Salish art is embedded within a traditional cultural framework that includes community, ceremonial life, territory, history and innovation. Six artists challenge our expectations and illustrate Coast Salish art as a thriving art tradition – a dynamic one that demonstrates both continuity with the past and exploration of new ideas and technologies. 


Museum of Anthropology

“In a Different Light:  Reflecting on Northwest Coast Art” (until Spring 2019)

Through the voices of contemporary First Nations artists and community members, this exhibition reflects on the roles historical artworks have today. Featuring immersive storytelling and innovative design, it explores what we can learn from these works and how they relate to Indigenous peoples’ relationships to their lands.


Maple Ridge:

The ACT Arts Centre

“Modern Legends” (until Oct. 27, 2017)

Contemporary First Nations artists, Sonny Assu, Corey Moraes, Carrielynn Victor, and Brandon Gabriel all feature an intriguing blend of traditional and contemporary storytelling in their artwork.



Legacy Art Gallery

“There is Truth Here:  Creativity and Resilience in Children Art from Indian Residential and Indian Day Schools” (until Jan. 6, 2018)

This exhibition and corresponding web resource bring together objects of art and craft as well as artifacts associated with dramatic productions created and produced by children and youth who attended Indian Residential and Indian Day Schools in British Columbia and Manitoba. 


Alcheringa Art Gallery

"Vessels" (from Oct. 22 onwards)

A specially curated selection of new work from the Northwest Coast, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Alaska. An eclectic mix of work that explodes with a contemporary vibrancy. Works will include ceramics, woven cedar bark, bentwood boxes, burned lime gourds, rose wood carving, sago pots and more.  Coast Salish artists include Angela Marston, Chris Paul, and Sage Paul.


Royal BC Museum 

“Family: Bonds and Belonging” (until Oct. 31, 2017)

Walk into a living interactive photo album and discover the truths and secrets of some of the First Nation families, early settler families and immigrants from all over the world who began their families here. 



The View Gallery @ VIU

“Identity: Art as Life” (until Nov. 3, 2017)

This unique show features three Indigenous artists from three different Nations on Vancouver Island, including two VIU grads. The artists are: Curtis Wilson (VIU alumnus) from Wei Wai Kum in the Kwakwaka’wakw territory, Richard Thomas from Snuneymuxw in the Coast Salish territory, and Vince Smith (VIU alumnus) of the Ehattesaht tribe in the Nuu-chah-nulth territory.



Salish Weave Collection

The introduction of the new elementary curriculum renewed our interest and motivation to find out if the concept of the ‘working’ prints was realistic and achievable. To do so, we launched a pilot project at the Cowichan Valley School District 79, the objective of which is two-fold: to build a collection of lessons plans, teaching aids and resources to support the use of the prints in the classroom, and to seek opportunities (such as professional development days) to encourage teachers to integrate the prints into all subjects of the curriculum.


Happy learning!