Painter and Federation of Canadian Artists member Claudia Punter is the new curator of the Art Gallery Osoyoos. She’s taking over from former curator Sue Whittaker, who is stepping down after a five-year term. (Dale Boyd / Osoyoos Times)
By Dale Boyd
Claudia Punter is excited to be the new curator for the Art Gallery Osoyoos, though she knows she has big shoes to fill.
Punter recently took over for Sue Whittaker, who stepped down after a five-year term, but she will not be taking on the task alone.
“I have to learn, with Sue and all the other people here and we have to work together,” Punter said. “I’m new in the job. I was never a curator at another gallery, but I love art and I love working with artists together. I think that’s why they asked me.”
Punter has lived in Osoyoos permanently since 2010, originally coming to Canada from Switzerland in 1993. The art gallery approached Punter after Whittaker announced she was retiring.
An active member of the Federation for Canadian Artists, she has been painting wildlife for the last five years using mostly acrylic, her work featured at the Okanagan Gallery as well as in a solo show at the gallery.
Working in Switzerland as a veterinarian, her love for animals blossomed into a passion for wildlife paintings of all sizes.
“I’m attached to animals. I like their behaviour, how they move, how they act. I like to show that in my paintings, the soul of these animals, how they think because I think animals think,” Punter said. “I would like to have people see how beautiful our nature is and care for this nature. I do that through animals which is from my own soul going into the soul of the animals.”
• Read more: Love of animals, nature expressed in Osoyoos artist Claudia Punter’s gallery show
Her philosophy when it comes to curating the gallery is to continue the great work and the mission already in place, in fact, it is right on the front door of the building.
“It’s ‘a community gallery for creative people.’ To involve people in the gallery,” Punter said, also recognizing all the work that has been done by the former curator.
“Sue is a great person, a great artist and she knows almost everybody in town. She was involved in a lot of volunteer work. She still does, she’s still painting upstairs with the water colour painters. She’s an excellent person,” Punter said.
This year the gallery is featuring seven, three-week shows, including the current exhibition of photographic art, Trifocal Perspectives. The year will also include the summer Christmas artisan markets. In total the gallery is featuring 30 artists in the space throughout the year.
“These seven shows they have different artists that can be painters, potters, sculptors woodworkers, everything, photography right now,” Punter said. “The markets are even more diverse because there is jewellery in it, fabric work and all that kind of stuff.”
While she says she is still getting her bearings in the job, moving forward Punter is looking to expand on community involvement with the gallery.
“Like painting in the gallery, kind of with a different approach to opening the gallery to the community, but I still have to think about — I’ve only had the job for a few weeks,” Punter laughed. “That’s my goal, but I still have to think about it. I love bringing the children (to the gallery), especially the children, but also that adults who don’t have access to go to the gallery, to give them access.”
Trifocal Perspectives, featuring the work of Osoyoos photographers runs until April 27 at the gallery. For more information visit www.osoyoosarts.com.