REVIEWS (and comments)

Over the past twenty years a number of people have reviewed BC ARTISTS, nominated the project for an award, asked about an artist, told me something about an artist, or simply sent a comment about the project. Thank you, Gary Sim.

(location Vancouver unless noted otherwise)

"Sim’s catalogue is an invaluable aid to artists, art historians, museums, galleries, collectors and every professional entity working in the field of fine art. Our organization consults his documentation regularly to identify whether an artist is from BC, or even has passed some time in British Columbia creating art. The data he has collected enriches our understanding of the breadth and depth of our cultural past and present. Thank you Christine Johnson-Dean, and thank you, Gary Sim."
       Kristin Krimmel, Canadian Art Preservation Foundation, March 25 2024

"Staggering, epic, a treasure trove - are words used to describe British Columbia Artists, an extensive digital finding aid to references for B.C. visual artists, started over 25 years ago ... (continues)"
       Christina Johnson-Dean, British Columbia Review, March 23 2024
       BRITISH COLUMBIA REVIEW Online article

"I will try to do a bit more researching and let you know if I find anything more. It is excellent work that you are doing - recording the past is always fascinating. It was also interesting to hear where Varley’s painting of "Norma" (the writer's mother) ended up. It is a wonderful painting."
       L.S., New Zealand, January 9 2024

"I’m very impressed by this work you are doing on behalf of BC artists and the public. I would be very grateful if you would update the (information) in your database of BC artists. On a personal note I want to thank you for all the hard work and the dedication you’ve put into your BC artist database."
       L.R., Switzerland, December 28 2023

"Your BC Artists database is a fantastic resource."
       M.K., historian & artist, December 21 2023

"Impressed with the wealth of information and detail."
       J.A., historian, October 30 2023

"You, with your wide knowledge of the Vancouver art scene, have been recommended to me by the staff at the BC Archives."
       R.D., author, Tours, France, October 24 2023

"Your work is on the same scale as what David Mattison has done for BC photographers. It is an invaluable resource. I am thankful for you, for David and, while I'm at it, for VPL for digitizing the directories years before most institutions had that kind of stuff online. You, Dave and the rest of the ne-er-do-wells should get nothing but praise."
       N.W., collector, April 8 2023

"Thanks for your unwavering commitment to BC arts."
       A.C., historian, Victoria, March 13 2023

"I found myself in your amazing site in the list of BC Artists and was absolutely thrilled. I'd been looking at Ira Dilworth and as I am kiln-tending, and it is pouring rain outside the shed I had some time to poke around your website and then read about the genesis and scope of it. Words fail me."
       I.M., artist, up the coast, October 27 2022

"Charles Hill, curator emeritus at the Ottawa gallery, says Sim has created an amazing resource of artists, many of whom were largely unknown beyond their region. “He’s dug up so much,” says Hill. “He goes well beyond a list of artists, including information about societies, biographies and exhibitions records.” Hill says the database is valuable for students, artists, historians and curators. “Gary is interested in everyone. His diligence and intelligence in the organization of the material makes this an extremely resourceful database. (article continues)”
       Janet Nicol, writer, August 2 2022

"I discovered your amazing website and work on BC Artists today while looking for information about a painting I recently acquired ... it has an entry label on the back of it for the BC Artists Golden Jubilee exhibition at Spencers. I was excited to find your entry about this exhibition as well! I didn't see (the artist) listed as a known artist at the exhibition ... and perhaps you can add it to the list ... "
       M.H., Archivist, July 20 2022

"I am updating our city's public art inventory and I see on your website that you've got a series of books (Dictionary of Canadian Artists) that contains a mention of the artist "Gary Sawatzky." Gary painted a mural here in Nanaimo and it's tricky to find out much about the fellow. If it's not too much trouble, I was wondering if you could share the information you have about this artist? Thank you very much for your time and consideration."
       A.F., artist and writer, Nanaimo, April 1 2022

"I looked at your site again this morning, and it is an amazingly useful resource."
       R.M., historian, February 7 2022

"Thanks for this most interesting site and the information about Maud Sherman. We are actually just in the process of discussing adding websites about artists, or links to websites, to the "Resources" section of our website, so your work on Sherman would fit nicely into that discussion. And I really enjoyed the website itself - it's an excellent model for others to consider."
       J.A., Canadian Women's Art History Initiative, Concordia, Montreal December 14 2021

"Many thanks for your assistance, it is very much appreciated."
       J.Y., December 2 2021

"Your site is a treasure trove! I use it frequently. Thank you very much for the lead by posting the information you had ... "
       M.S., December 1 2021

"I really appreciate such a fast response and the researcher will be so happy to have a name."
       K.W., November 29 2021

"I am so appreciative for this. Thank you for all of your support and information."
       A.C., November 25 2021

"I am very grateful for the time you have dedicated to indexing and making so much information on BC artists available on the Web. Your database is a wonderful resource ... "
       J.M., November 25 2021

"I'm glad your site is simple html because it will last a lot longer than the flashier ones. I plugged in an old laptop a week or so ago to see if it would run Zoom (it wouldn't). While I was online I went and looked at my website, then yours, and they both loaded perfectly."
       M.K., November 4 2021

"You work so hard at this. It is a lovely resource and I’ve been flipping around finding artist birthdays. It’s fun. I wish you could monetize it in some way, just because you deserve some financial recognition for all of this work."
       R.D., Penticton, October 17 2021

"What a cool thing to do ... I had never looked at her listing before so thanks so much. It's a whole new way to access the material. Obviously keeping yourself busy."
       B.M., Burnaby, October 16 2021

" ... googling around the web did not reveal any results except your web site."
       I.W., October 14 2021

"Good man, and I hope you've been given the Order of British Columbia for this. Or maybe the Order of Canada. ... I offer my greatest enthusiasm for your generous activities. My warmest regards to you."
       Robert Russell Reid, October 1 2021

"You have been so helpful Gary, any more information you can find will be great."
       L.A., September 30 2021

"I am glad that you are doing this bit for Canadian art. Best of luck."
       J.J., September 30 2021

"Many thanks for my inclusion in your listings."
       R.G., July 29 2021

"Thanks for this Gary. I think this is an important thing you are doing."
       T.M., May 18 2021

"Your research is extremely exciting."
       M.G., North Vancouver, May 5 2021

"Just a wee note to say that the postcards arrived safely at the Archives today. Some are familiar to me, but others are new, so very many thanks for thinking of us and sending them along."
       R.T., West Vancouver, April 21 2021

"Thank you very much for your swift reply and suggestions for next steps. I will follow up with the sources you mention."
       P.B., March 17 2021

"I looked up your list of artists and it's a wonderful reference. We will certainly use your reference list when looking at artists' work."
       K.K., February 2 2021

"Your encyclopedia continues to stand alone as a comprehensive important contribution to the arts in BC and Canada."
       Y.W., December 20 2020

"Well done. You are amazing and a prolific artist and contributor to the arts."
       C.M., West Vancouver, August 12 2020

"I was thinking of you the other day - as an authority of this history of artists in BC and BC artists ..."
       P.D., Victoria, July 16 2020

"Thanks for keeping me in mind, and for your ongoing wonderful project. You’re a gem!"
       R.A., Victoria, July 16 2020

"I would like to be added to the list (quite a project)."
       C.C., July 5 2020

"Hello Gary! Just heard about the artist database project - very cool! I’d love to be added to the database!!"
       L.G., June 25 2020

"You are truly amazing and it's delightful that the stay at home is giving you the chance to do so much work! There are some good results. Lovely to see it all online."
       C.S., May 22 2020

"Thank you so much for compiling this directory!"
       J.S., January 17 2020

"Also, thank you very much for producing the site. It has helped with my research immensely and was one of the main starting points when I began researching Grace Melvin’s life in Canada."
       K.W., Edinburgh Scotland, January 16 2020

"THIS IS GREAT! I have been using an older version of the BCA database for years, but this update is amazing."
       M.S., January 14 2020

"We are delighted to announce that our friend and colleague Gary Sim has generously released his British Columbia Artists database free of charge on the Web. The database represents a true labour of love and more than 24 years of research in libraries, archives and private collections. Gary spent many long hours poring over exhibition catalogues and artist files at the Vancouver Art Gallery Library and we are very grateful that he is now sharing all of his research publicly. Entries in the BCA database reveal many hidden exhibition histories and artists’ names from the past. Over 19,000 artists active in B.C. from 1890 onwards are listed. This invaluable research tool is available via our ‘Resources’ page or directly at"
       Jane Devine Mejia, Chief Librarian, Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 14 2020

"Thank you for sending us your excellent reference source. ... We are in the process of revamping our research guides and will be considering a section on strategies for locating local artists. Your index would be an invaluable digital resource for such a section. In the meantime we will inform our colleagues to use your index for reference questions."
       C.C., January 2 2020

"Thank you for your interest, and keep up your excellent efforts with your upcoming website."
       I.P., Victoria, December 30 2019

"Yes, this is an excellent resource ... Epic effort that Gary Sim has undertaken and an important record of achievement in our province."
       A.F., Nelson, December 27 2019

"Congratulations on getting all of this information up onto the web in a searchable form - that is a great development, and I’m sure was a lot of work. It is an impressive project."
       C.S., December 18 2019

"I look forward to consulting your wealth of information."
       C.H., Ottawa, December 18 2019

"You have given me much to read and look at. Thank you."
       D.F., North Vancouver, December 18 2019

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have a special Christmas gift to share with you. Gary Sim has just released to the web a lifetime of research on British Columbia Artists. His biographical endeavour compiles over 20 years of intensive and dedicated research on the arts scene in British Columbia, with special interest in artists who have exhibited in Vancouver prior to 1950. This invaluable research tool is something I have drawn on in the past, though it was previously only available on CD-ROM by subscription, or by special access in a number of local libraries."
     Jason Vanderhill, Researcher, Surrey, December 2019

"I continue to admire your work on many levels. ... Congratulations on this latest proposed incarnation of your encyclopaedic and historically important website of BC Artists. I would be pleased to contribute a publishing grant of $5K to assist with your work."
     Dr. Yosef Wosk, Vancouver (2019)

"I’ve been thinking of you lately, since I’m working on an archive of my work. Only now do I realize what a huge job you’ve done, it is really mind boggling that you had the time, the energy and dedication to attempt such an immense endeavour."
     Pnina Granirer, visual artist 2019

"Thanks for this update on a very important and worthwhile project."
       J.F., August 8 2017

"I am happy to learn about your BC Artists project, and look forward to accessing this resource"
       C.S., May 1 2017

"I can only imagine the amount of time and effort you have put into producing "British Columbia Artists." It is an amazing resource and I salute you and offer you anything I have found that might be of help in your ongoing efforts."
     M.P. collector, researcher, 2015

"Your selfless contributions to create this text and also to the art world not only brings awareness of British Columbia's hidden talent, but adds much to our history."
     The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia (2014).

"... his current magnum opus is his compendium of all past and present BC visual artists. It's a hyperlinked inventory of every artist Gary has been able to identify ... "
     Chris Tyrell, opinion article in OPUS Newsletter April 2013 issue.

"Congratulations on your Award of the British Columbia Historical Federation's Certificate of Merit. Your interest and activities in preserving and promoting British Columbia's colourful history is very much appreciated."
     Gary A. Mitchell, Chair, Recognition Committee, BC Historical Federation (2013).

"He has built a superb superstructure to which all participants will surely want to contribute in years to come ... it is a unique and very valuable compendium of our history. The people who need this - auctioneers, art historians, libraries and archives - are slowly becoming aware of Sim's unique computer-based endeavour."
     Robert Amos, review in Times-Colonist.

"You have done a remarkable job in assembling and cross-referencing the massive documentation on art and artists ... what is most impressive is the diversity of your sources ... It is truly impressive, intelligently and skillfully organized... the work you are doing is of great importance ... "
     Charles C. Hill, Curator Emeritus, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

"It is a most welcome addition to Canada's national research collection in the visual arts. ... We are delighted to make this unique reference work available to researchers ..."
     Jo Beglo, Bibliographer (retired), National Gallery of Canada Library, Ottawa

"British Columbia Artists is an epic research project ..."
     Editor, Alcuin Society blog, January 2011

"Great work Gary! Good luck with this and if I can supply you with additional information, please let me know. It will be awesome to have a collection like this available!"
     J.E., artist, September 28 2010

"It is indeed a very helpful and impressive body of work. ... I am very pleased to know that there is a copy of this material available in our library."
     Ian M. Thom, Senior Curator (retired), Vancouver Art Gallery

"... this CD-ROM compilation is ... an invaluable contribution to Canadian cultural research - and a boon to all art historians who have struggled to piece together the history of West Coast painting."
     Paula Gustafson (deceased), Editor, Artichoke review Summer 2004, Vancouver.

"The research has been undertaken in a very thorough manner, and the result is a document that is amazingly comprehensive and accurate. The organization of the material is clear and easily navigated, making accessible information that was previously difficult to find."
     Lynn Brockington, former Librarian, Vancouver Art Gallery

"This tool is a rich storehouse of information about artists working in Vancouver."
     Murray Waddington (deceased), former Chief, Library & Archives, National Gallery of Canada

"This is a tour-de-force considering the dearth of sources and the time required to find materials. ... He, his research, and documents are sources that no researcher should fail to consult. Most importantly, he has been consistently generous sharing information. ... It is a compact gem densely filled with valuable information."
     Letia Richardson (deceased), Art Researcher and Writer, Vancouver

"It has been handy in more ways than you might imagine ... the sheer volume of information is astonishing."
     Cheryl Siegel, Librarian (retired), Vancouver Art Gallery