For 15 years, The Avenue Gallery has been in the midst of Oak Bay Village, attracting passersby with striking art works by Blu Smith and Ron Parker in its show window. This week, I dropped by for a visit with owner Heather Wheeler to talk about the past, present and future of one of Victoria’s premier galleries.

Wheeler told me she grew up in a household where her mother was very creative, but Wheeler approached the world with a head for business. Beginning in the 1980s, she worked for Peter Dorazio, an entrepreneur who dominated the tourist shops on lower Government Street.

At first, she was retail manager for his art shops: the Art Bank, Art Underground and the Customs House Gallery. Eventually, she decided she’d outgrown the possibilities there and set out on her own, opening a gardening shop. But she missed the art world, and went to work at a gallery with another former Dorazio employee, Valerie Pusey, up the street at Northern Passage…

Continue reading on TimesColonist.com (Feature by Robert Amos, originally published in the Times Colonist on September 10, 2017)