the story of the ou

Ou like 'Ooo, nice' 


As an artist-run gallery and artist residency, we hope to share our journey with you by making an inclusive community space where together we can create and experience the wonderful world of art. 

Located in the beautiful Cowichan Valley halfway between Victoria & Nanaimo, we’re humbled and thankful to acknowledge that we live on the traditional unceded Coast Salish territory of the Tsawout First Nation.

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a little history

Built in the 1930's by Aubrey Ash, who lived in a cabin across the creek & would use a makeshift gondola to ferry across,  'Ash Boatworks' ran until the late 80's (as far as our amateur sleuthing goes). His daughter then ran 'Miller Catering' from the kitchen, before it changed hands to become the home & workshop of Master Carpenter, Cameron Forbes. It's amazing to be able to add to this history of creative entrepreneurs, and we're thankful that the deep fir floors can tell you a part of this story through their layers of colourful resin. We're still collecting stories as they filter in from the neighbourhood; some remember "getting their rocks tumbled" here as a child, and others speak of the "kind & generous nature" of Ash's daughter, Donna. One day we hope that our neighbours will be able to tell soft stories through smiles about us too.


who runs this place?


Barclay started learning about art on the kitchen floor with oil pastels. From there she tried out a degree at the NSCAD but ended up with an MA in Media & International Development. Her passion for travel, art & community engagement has taken her all over the world as a facilitator, student, artist & volunteer. She loves helping people share their story and is a media consultant and photographer for The Salish Sea Sentinel. Get in touch.

Donovan Rose is an oil painter & travel reviewer, who's passion for art grew from found materials in the streets of Montreal, and led him across the country and back again. His work & life is inspired by an ever evolving palette of Leonard Cohen & Kees van Dongen. He is currently represented by Gallery Merrick. Find more of his art & words at

Together and with help from their wonderful friends & family, they created The Ou Gallery to satisfy their desire to inhabit & share beautiful creative spaces,  to be surrounded by contemporary art & to bring artists from around the world to a place where they can feel at home, relaxed & inspired.

Tintype taken by  Tekoa Predika

Tintype taken by Tekoa Predika


find us just outside of downtown duncan | 3091 Agira Road


Thank you to our community & local partners