Gabriola Arts Council

photograph of desk and water view on a nearly dark night

what is the Kasahara Gabriola Trust artist residency?

The opportunity for an emerging or established artist to reside and work for a residency term on Gabriola Island, BC, the Isle of the Arts.

about Toshiko Kasahara

Toshiko Kasahara came upon Gabriola Island almost by accident, acquiring the oceanfront property as repayment for a loan over 50 years ago. She and her husband dreamed of building on the property, but he died before they could realize it. Undaunted (at 80) Toshiko built the house on the beach. 

Her love of the island was matched by her love of the arts – all forms of art – from poetry to loud music, bold sculptures to delicate watercolours. Throughout her life, Toshiko held a strong spirit of adventure.  She was curious, passionate, fearless, and determined – in almost everything she did.  She loved everything the island had to offer – the ocean, the arts, and the people. She loved to entertain and, more than anything, to connect.

“She wasn’t afraid to ask for what she wanted,” says Peter Baker, manager of the Kasahara Gabriola Trust and Toshiko’s neighbour on the island. “And no wasn’t her favorite answer.” That translated into impromptu and insistent invitations to concerts, from guitar instrumentals at house concerts to some wild folk music at the Haven.  At the intermission of one of those concerts, “we asked if she wanted to go home early,” recalls Baker. “Her response was simply ‘oh no! I like loud noise music!’”

The Kasahara Gabriola Trust that she left is a tremendous legacy to this singular, indomitable person who wanted the best for her island home and community.

Video by Annette Mangaard, music by John Capon.

details of the artist residency

The residency provides a live/work space on an inspirational and intimate island setting, allowing artists the opportunity to imagine, create, experiment, develop new ideas, and ultimately a new body of work.

The selected artist will reside in a beautiful 1700 square foot, single level, 3 bedroom, ocean front home with hardwood floors and large picture windows that Toshiko Kasahara built. 

Toshiko’s love of Gabriola, the arts and connection with community are what drives this residency.  The KGT trustee (dear friend and neighbour of Toshiko) hopes that each artist in residence will also embrace these loves and leave behind lasting evidence of the connections the artist has fashioned with the Gabriola community during their time on the island.

Diversity enriches community. Gabriola Arts Council is committed to appreciating and celebrating diversity in arts. We strive to increase understanding and acceptance of each other, thereby making us more compassionate human beings and strengthening the fabric of our communities.

The KGT Residency is a self-directed retreat, with opportunity for professional development, while giving the local community access to a diverse range of arts practices, theories, and experiences.  The selected artist will reside in a beautiful 1700 square foot, single level, 3 bedroom, ocean front home with hardwood floors and large picture windows.

You can walk right onto the rocky beach and walking trails are across the street.  The home does not have a formal studio space, but the front room (open concept living/dining/kitchen space) with a large granite table/desk looking out at the ocean and the extra bedrooms with a folding worktable are suitable areas for studio work. The grounds are large enough to erect a tent for outdoor work if desired.  There is a tent on the grounds now for use.



what practical facilities does the residency offer?

  • Primary bedroom with full en suite bath
  • Two private bedrooms with an additional full bath
  • Open concept kitchen and living space with work table
  • Internet
  • Printer
  • Piano
  • Professional drop cloths available upon request
  • Deck facing the ocean
  • Access to audio equipment by donation and photo/video equipment rental
  • Free exhibition/workshop/artist talk/performance space at Gabriola Arts & Heritage Centre
  • Promotional services via the Arts Council newsletter/website/social media
  • Networking opportunities with a vibrant local artist community

expenses paid by the artists

  • Travel
  • Short term moving costs
  • Food
  • Artist working supplies

A damage deposit of $500 is required upon arrival and will be returned to you at the end of the residency provided that the house is left in good order.

artist installation, a stack of golden boxes with dried flower stems arranged in an art gallery on Gabriola Island BC
photo by Mathilde Rohr, artist in residence November 2023
annette mangaard video installation at Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre
Annette Mangaard's video installation at Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre, 2023

at the end

At the end of the residency the artist is expected to present a gallery show, a performance piece, a reading, or an appropriate sharing of the body of work completed during the residency, to the Gabriola community.  

Gallery space/outdoor space/performance space for this show (as well as on-line digital promotion) will be provided by the Gabriola Arts Council.

group sitting in front of projection for getting into painting workshop, led by Kate Bang
two women admire the artwork hanging on the walls. black and white chinese style watercolour drawings by Dan Xu, artist in residence

application criteria

Applications are welcome from Canadian artists working in a wide range of disciplines including, but not limited to, visual art, film, literary arts, performance arts or music/sound. 

Applicants should keep in mind the unique environment of Gabriola Island and familiarize themselves with the amenities and services available. Nanaimo is a 20 minute ferry ride away and has additional services, such as a fully stocked art store, large music store, galleries, etc. Gabriola also has a bus system called Gertie. 

The house is suitable for two people, but we do not accept joint applications. The successful artist may choose to bring their partner, child or art companion upon approval. Unfortunately we are unable to host your pets.

applications are open

Apply now if you are interested in joining us for an artist residency in 2025.

Be the first to know when we open our next call for applicants: email us, join GAC, or follow us on Facebook.

Past Artists in Residence

Kate Bang painter from edmonton alberta
photo by Bill Pope
Kate Bang, artist on Gabriola Island

Kate Bang

Winter 2024

Painter whose works of realism and surrealism often depict the artist’s memories, imagination and experiences as a Canadian immigrant.

mathilde rohr art installation gabriola island
Mathilde Rohr artist

Mathilde Rohr

Fall 2023

interdisciplinary artist, moving between performance, drawing, video, installation, collaborations, relational art, printmaking and writing.

annette mangaard video installation at Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre
annette mangaard

Annette Mangaard

Fall 2023

documentary, experimental, filmmaker, photographer, media artist. Interested in nature, underwater photography, climate change and our planet.

Dan Xu

Summer 2023

prolific painter who works in traditional Chinese ink and brush. Dan taught two fascinating workshops on the art of classical Chinese painting, and hosted an art show to display the dozens of paintings of Gabriola’s shoreline which she created during he residency.

Diane Conrad

Fall 2022

professor of drama/theatre education made some amazing connections with Gabriola youth through her applied theatre workshops and by doing so provided those adults who are also working with our youth with new insight on potential programs.


Jessica Miinguuaqti

Spring 2022

a mixed media painter, film maker and poet/writer who brought community members together with her powerful documentary film she produced during her residency which provided insight into her learnings from her Great Auntie and shared how she was reclaiming her culture and ancestral language.

Joanne Sale

Joanne Sale

Fall 2021

a mixed media artist and print maker focussed on species at risk throughout Canada who brought together the fabric artists in the community showing her intricate print making process and leaving behind a growing interest in our murrelets.

Haruko Azul artist in residence

Haruko Okano

Spring 2021

an eco-artist, she extends the medium of her work to address the  challenges facing the eco system all living beings on this planet depend on  because of the severe impact all humanity has on the environment. Her art partner Azul Duque joined her and added layers of audio scapes to the work. 

Nanaimo News Bulletin article

photograph of desk and water view on a nearly dark night

Michèle Provost

Fall 2020

a confessed workaholic delivered 14 graphic books during her time at the residency built on a long-contemplated project on the pressing subject of aging in our society. She came during lockdown and did not have the opportunity to work with community.