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Isle of the Arts Festival, Gabriola Island BC

Call for Workshop Proposals – Isle of the Arts Festival 2023

We’re now accepting arts+culture workshops and event proposals for the annual Isle of the Arts Festival (IoTA), produced by the Gabriola Arts Council. The Isle of the Arts Festival 2023 takes place over ten days in the Spring, from March 30th to April 9th.

If you have a skill or event you would be interested in sharing on Gabriola, as part of this fun and fabulous festival, let us know. Previous festivals have included workshops on many subjects, from poetry to chalk to herbs to drawing to singing to woodworking and everything in between. Submit your workshop proposal by December 16th. 

About The Festival

IoTA is all about making, sharing, learning, and being adventurous. It is a time to try something new and to challenge participants, so keep that in mind when you put in your application. Is this just another workshop or are you offering something we haven’t seen before.

Our Festival Coordinator this year is Naomi Melnyk and she will guide you the process of getting your workshop accepted into IoTA. We will let you know that this year we’ll be hosting a lively night market, open to all artists and makers, with about 18 spots available. Contact Naomi for more details.


A pottery workshop led by Graham Sheehan - potter building a pot out of clay with participants looking on Beau Wagner leads a group in an outdoor workshop learning about Indigenous heritage and nature tour

All The Details

The Gabriola Isle of the Arts Fest runs March 30th to April 9th, 2023. The deadline for proposals is December 16th 2022, by 5pm.

GAC pays $70 per workshop hour and covers the cost of materials, venue, admin, marketing, and more. Please email all proposals and/or questions to or fill out the form on

There isn’t a theme just yet, as we’re hoping the offerings determine that as the applications arrive. So no parameters beyond it has to take place on Gabriola during the festival and you can accommodate a minimum of 12 people, we can go larger, that is the minimum unless there is something specific about your workshop that it requires a smaller audience.

Please note we are also looking to live stream at least 5 workshops. We normally do this from the Gabriola Arts & Heritage Centre without a live audience, but on Zoom. We turn GAHC into a TV studio and the instructor has a large screen to see what their workspace looks like for participants. This is all about accessibility and reaching beyond the shores of our tiny island.

Submit Your Workshop Proposal

Diane Conrad U of Alberta Applied Theatre Research

Applied Theatre Presentation by Artist in Residence, Diane Conrad

Join us Sunday October 16th at 11am to meet GAC’s Kasahara Artist in Residence, Diane Conrad.

While on Gabriola, Diane Conrad, Professor at the University of Alberta, will be writing a book about her Applied Theatre Research; and on Sunday she will offer a free community presentation, sharing stories of how theatre strategies have been used to analyze and explore participants’ experiences and search for solutions to areas of concern.

  • Sunday October 16th @ 11am
  • Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre 476 South Road
  • Everyone is welcome.

Diane will be sharing details from her 20-year research program using applied theatre with marginalized youth in alternative school settings, in a youth jail and with street-involved youth in the Edmonton area.

In case you missed her blurb in the last newsletter, applied theatre is term that describes theatre practices outside of traditional theatre contexts, most commonly with participants who have little or no theatre experience, but who have an interest in the issues being explored.

Applied theatre is focused more on process than on theatrical performance; its intention is to examine the world and our experiences, to raise awareness and to generate change.

In my presentation, I’ll share images and stories from the projects I worked on with youth. The image above, for example, is from a scene we created for a project with street involved youth. We called the project Uncensored. Its aim was to educate service providers who worked with the youth about the youths’ experiences in order to better meet youths’ needs. The scene, “Labels,” was based on youths’ experiences of feeling seen by service providers only as the labels that were applied to them from their files; they did not feel seen or heard as individuals who were struggling and deserving of assistance.

I hope to connect with a youth group while I’m here on Gabriola to explore their perspectives on whatever topic they deem relevant.

I hope to see you at my presentation.


2022 Thanksgiving Studio Tour – all the details you need to know

Gabriola’s biggest art event of the year is here – the Thanksgiving Studio Tour. Gabriola artists will open their studios and their hearts to visitors from far and wide to share their talents and creativity. There is something for everyone on the Tour – from pottery to paintings, jewellery, photography, sculpture, glassblowing, mixed media, leatherwork, metalwork and more!

This year we are celebrating our 26th year and expecting more than 1,500 visitors – what fun!

When is Studio Tour?

October 8-10th 2022. Studios are open from 10am-5pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Thanksgiving Weekend.

What does it cost?

Studio Tour is FREE.

You can tour studios at your own leisure throughout the weekend. Visit as many artists as you’d like – their doors are all open from 10am-5pm.

Who is participating this year?

65 artists, in 56 studios, all members of the Gabriola Arts Council. Learn more about each studio here.

Gabriola Studio Tour Artists

Where is Gabriola Island?

Beautiful Gabriola is only a 20 minute ferry ride away from Nanaimo, BC. Check the Gabriola ferry schedule here. You also have direct access to Gabriola from Vancouver (downtown and YVR South) thanks to Gulf Island seaplanes.

What accommodations are available on Gabriola?

Coming from afar? No worries, we’ve got many great B&Bs and places to stay here on Gabriola. Our friends at the Haven have beautiful oceanfront rooms available for rent.

How do I find the open Studios? Is there a map?

Use this handy digital map to help you plan your route or pick up a brochure at Tour Central. You are welcome to start at any Studio you wish – this is a choose-your-own adventure crawl, so don’t be shy – start wherever you’d like.

Tour Central

Visit Tour Central where you can preview artwork from each of the participating studios. Tour Central is located in the Village, not far from the grocery store. We’ll be upstairs inside Nova Art and Craft Boutique. 575 N Rd, Gabriola, BC V0R 1X3

Tour Central hours:

  • Opening Night, Thursday October 6, 7pm-9pm
  • Friday October 7th: 10am-5pm
  • Saturday October 8th: 10am-5pm
  • Sunday October 9th: 10am-5pm
  • Monday October 10th: 10am-5pm

Stop by Tour Central in the village, where you can see artwork by each of the participating Studio Tour artists.


Opening Night Celebration – You’re Invited

Come celebrate with us as we open the Tour Central preview gallery. Thursday October 6th at 7pm
Mingle with artists, view their work, have a snack. There will be music by Sarah Osborne. Don’t miss it!
Do you have any other questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to