Many events have been cancelled or postponed in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, but nothing can stop Salmon Arm artist Roxi Hermsen from paying tribute to her father through her paintings.
Hermsen’s father, Bill Sim, passed away last summer. Sim founded the Okanagan Science Centre, based in Vernon.
Hermsen’s show ‘Into the Cosmos’ was inspired by her father’s fascination with science, space, and the cosmos, as well as her experiences in Grenada and seeing the people’s resilience after Hurricane Ivan devastated the country in 2004.
Her tribute show was originally scheduled to open on April 3 at Nadine’s Fine Arts in Vernon, but was called off as widespread closures and cancellations swept across the province.
Instead of having summaries posted beside the paintings, she talked about the inspiration behind each painting and the message she hopes people will take from it.
Hermsen also talked about the Science Centre’s beginnings.
“He (Sim) started out small in his garage and he got a few people on board, then more people on board… he started it from nothing with nothing,” she said.
“His goal was to make it world-class. And he’s the guy that went down to (science centres) in Vancouver and Edmonton so if you had a membership at the Science Centre here, you can get in free in Vancouver. He made those kinds of connections.”
“(The Science Centre) is a real family thing but also a huge community thing because so many people in the community were involved and it’s just been amazing. So hopefully, when this is all over, we can start up again.”
The last piece in Hermsen’s show, titled ‘The Ripple Effect, Two Ducks in McGuire Lake, has been donated for a silent auction, with the proceeds going to the Marg and Bill Sim Memorial Scholarship through the Okanagan Science Centre. Other pieces in the collection will also be for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Science Centre.
During this time of financial difficulty, Hermsen encouraged people to support artists however way they can.
“Support your artists. They’re really having a hard time right now. Some of them offer online classes, take those online classes. Art is a wonderful therapy. Do art with your kids. You can go to my website and download colouring sheets for free. Art is very good therapy in dark times, especially if you’re in close quarters… let art uplift you, because it really does that.”
For more information on Roxi and her art, visit her site.