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Soft Shore exhibit brings permanent multi-media gallery to Parksville

Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen first artists to be shown in MAC’s digital gallery
Courtesy of McMillan Arts Centre MAC’s Jennifer Bate prepares the new digital media gallery, fondly titled ‘The Cloakroom Gallery’.

The old cloakroom in the McMillan Arts Centre is getting a new look.

In the narrow hallway where students’ coats once lined the walls, six smart TVs have been mounted.

The new gallery, dubbed ‘The Cloakroom Gallery’, is a unique space, the first of its kind in the mid-Island. It’s a multimedia gallery with the ability to showcase high-quality video and photo, and will soon be doing just that.

The digital gallery will open as part of the MAC’s interactive summer exhibit, Soft Shore: where land and water meet.

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Janet Richards, publicist for Soft Shore, says this exhibit is the first of many more for The Cloakroom Gallery.

“We’re hoping to be able to screen films here, have photographers of all ages here. We could thinking of networking the screens so they’re working together, interactive stuff,” said Richards. ”

From July 6 until Sept. 1, it will display the work of National Geographic photographers and Vancouver Island locals Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen.

Five of the six screens run the length of the cloakroom, and will display 35 photos by Mittermeier. Many were taken as part of her series on the Salish Sea, and others will showcase people and wildlife of Haida Gwaii.

The sixth screen on the back wall will run a video by Paul Nicklen. Shot underwater and with full sound, it shows a run of salmon in the Adams River.

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In the past, digital artists have had to print out renderings of their work in order to display at the MAC.

Richards says that while that solution worked, it didn’t quite do the digital works justice. Now, they will be able to showcase digital art of all kinds.

“The sky’s the limit for that kind of gallery here,” said Richards.