Castlegar is the home to an incredible array of talented artists who work in every medium, from visual arts to music to tactile installation pieces. To celebrate, we featured a different artist every month during 2022.

Perhaps it’s the stunning scenery. Or the many recreational opportunities that encourage you to get outside and enjoy nature. Maybe the inspiration comes from the culture here, or the annual Sculpture Walk, or the fact the Kootenay Gallery of Art is located in the city. Whatever the reason, there are many talented artists living in Castlegar and each deserves an article about their work.

Photographer Steven Wells

When he’s not photographing the epic local views, Castlegar photographer Steven Wells is playing outside. “From my front door I can ride some of the best mountain bike trails around, walk to the Columbia river, take my dog on multiple different hikes or take a short drive to Syringa Park and Arrow Lakes. If you are into recreation, it is here.” Learn more about Steven and see examples of his incredible scenic photography here.

Jewellery Maker Sonja Rosenberg

Sonja is a mother of four who learned metalsmithing and jewellery design in Halifax at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Eventually she found her way to Castlegar where she continues to create beautiful artwork. “We came to the Kootenays for the mountains, weather, adventure, and community. Our new home has not disappointed.” To see more of Sonja’s jewellery, visit here.

Muralist Matty Kakes

When he’s not teaching at Selkirk College, Matt Hillman is a talented muralist who goes by the name Matty Kakes and is “especially interested in the intersection of youth work and public art — exploring the opportunity these complimentary practices create for empowerment, community building and social justice advancements.” He also loves sneakers. To see more of his work, visit here.

Musician Shawn Hooks

Shawn Hook is a celebrated singer-songwriter who has been nominated for multiple awards including a Juno for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. He comes from a long line of West Kootenay musicians and says, “My family was very musical. Particularly my uncle and my grandfather. In fact, my grandfather’s first guitar is currently on display at the Doukhobor museum in Ootischenia.” To hear a selection of songs by Shawn, including “Take Me Home” about his longing to be back in Castlegar, visit here.

Photographer Stefanie Harron

A graduate of video journalism at George Brown College in Toronto, Stefanie Harron moved to Castlegar in 2008 and specializes in photographing the local wildlife. She also loves astral photography and says that for both disciplines, the ability to sit still and be patient is an asset. To see more of her photography, visit here.

Watercolour Painter Tara Smith

Tara Smith was born and raised in the Kootenays and like most local children she was introduced to the sport of fishing at a young age. These days she’s busy teaching her own two kids how to fish but occasionally she finds some free time to paint watercolours of, you guessed it, fish. To see more of her paintings, visit here.

Videographer Tyler Hadikin

Tyler Hadikin grew up in Castlegar and is now a videographer here who has done work for a variety of clients, from X Games athletes and real estate agents to East and West Kootenay businesses and all manner of events. He specializes in drone work and says of his fellow professionals, “people here are more willing to work together and create long-lasting relationships and I love that we can operate like that.” To see his videos, visit here.

Metal Artist Lisa Huth

Lisa Huth is an artist and blacksmith based in Pass Creek, just north of Castlegar. Her preferred medium is metal and she’s done commissions for clients that include everything from patio railings to range hoods and she’s also created pieces that have been showcased in such festivals as Castlegar’s Sculpture Walk. To see more of her work, visit here.

Designer & Seamstress Sue Reed

Sue Reed is the talented artist and seamstress behind the brand Dreamscape Studio, which specializes in custom, unique, and individualized handbags, wallets, purses, and more. Based in Ootischenia, the community on the eastern side of the Columbia River across from Castlegar, Sue designs accessories using a variety of materials from vinyl and leather to cork that’s specially imported from Portugal. To see her designs, visit here.

Painter Mirja Vahala

Mirja Vahala is a painter who specializes in acrylic landscapes. Her art studio based in Robson, just across the Columbia River from Castlegar, is where she creates her own work as well as instructs and mentors other artists. Her preferences lean towards acrylics but she also offers art courses in drawing, oils, colour mixing, composition, portraits, and more. To see them, visit here.

Photographer Dan Salekin

If you’ve attended the Castlegar Craft and Farmers markets, you’ve probably seen Dan Salekin. He’s usually wearing a fun T-shirt and standing in front of a booth showcasing his photographs, most of which have been taken in and around the city. Dan was born and raised in Castlegar and says he’s been into photography ever since he was a kid. To see more of his work, visit here.

Musician and Photographer Yanive Feiner

Yanive Feiner is a renaissance man of sorts: he’s been a music teacher for over 20 years; his photography is being used by various businesses and associations around the West Kootenay region; and he’s written one of the anthems being used by the Trail Smoke Eaters hockey team. To see more of his photography and hear his music, visit this page.

Photographer Josh Fogal

Born and raised in Castlegar, Josh Fogal says he was always inspired by the local animals and scenery to pick up a camera and he finally did so when he got the opportunity to be a wildlife guide after graduation. He’s since photographed around British Columbia, Japan, and other parts of Asia. To see more of his wildlife photography, visit here.

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