Editorial: Saluting Art & Marv


Every so often, the extraordinary contributions of certain community members come into focus.

Two of those people will be in the spotlight this week.

Tonight (June 20), ArtSpring is hosting a retirement party for Marv Coulthard. The community arts centre technical director has been the man in the booth since the facility opened in 1999, except for a hiatus to battle cancer in the past year. Anyone who has used ArtSpring’s theatre over the years has experienced his signature magic.

Then on Saturday afternoon, people from on and off the island who knew Arthur Black will converge at Fulford Hall to celebrate his life. Black was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January and chose to die with medical assistance on Feb. 21 after the disease progressed quickly.

Black was a national cultural icon as the host of the beloved Basic Black CBC radio show, the author of some 19 books, three of which won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and his syndicated humour columns, which he wrote for 40 years.

Just as remarkable, though, is that Black would readily lend his time and talents to charitable efforts both on and off the island. His voice, humour and literary talents helped raise thousands of dollars for causes great and small.

Coulthard also had a long career with the CBC, but on the television side, retiring at age 53 and moving to Salt Spring. While his position was a paid one at ArtSpring, Coulthard also contributed many hours without compensation to community groups and ArtSpring. He also mentored others, including youth, and led theatre lighting workshops.

He has also volunteered copious amounts of time as a co-founder of the Salt Spring Antique and Classic Car Club. Through the efforts of Coulthard and others, the island now has the annual Salt Spring Show and Shine event to anchor Canada Day celebrations.

Both Coulthard and Black made their contributions without expecting any particular accolades. They knew their skills and talents were needed and they shared them fully and with modesty.

If you want to express thanks to Coulthard or to celebrate Black’s life with his family and friends, this is the week to do it.

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