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Diane Evans (1954 - 2023)

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By Guest Entry

Posted on July 18, 2023 | Updated July 18, 2023, 1:10pm

Filed in Faculty, Staff, Students

Diane Evans
Courtesy of The Polygon Gallery/ Photographer: Yoichi Okubo

Photographer, teacher, and ECU alum Diane Evans was a beloved sessional instructor at Emily Carr from 1996 – 2019.

Photographer, teacher, and ECU alum Diane Evans was a beloved sessional instructor at Emily Carr for 23 years. She attended ECU from 1974 - 1978, graduating with Honours in Photography. The following announcement has been shared courtesy of The Polygon Gallery.

It is with great sadness that The Polygon Gallery announces the passing of longtime manager Diane Evans. She died peacefully, after a short illness, on Friday, June 23, 2023.

Diane began working at Presentation House Gallery in 1987, after graduating with honours from the Vancouver School of Art in 1978 and pursuing a career as a photographer. Over the subsequent 36 years, from the converted schoolhouse on Chesterfield Avenue through the Gallery’s subsequent move and renaming as The Polygon Gallery, Diane’s passion, commitment, and profound love for photography and photographers came to be imprinted throughout the organization.

Diane’s work ethic was legendary, as was her care in shepherding art and artists, preparing and installing thousands of their artworks, juggling every manner of practical chores, all the while ensuring exhibitions were seen, promoted, and disseminated. Diane was rarely nor more visibly happy than amongst a receptive crowd at the opening of “a good old-fashioned photo show.”

Beginning in 1996, alongside her work at the Gallery, Diane taught photography as a sessional instructor at Emily Carr University. There, she nurtured a generation of students, instilling in them a passion and enthusiasm for the craft of picture making that echoed her own. In the words of former student Cedric Bomford: “Diane was the most impactful instructor I had while a student at Emily Carr. She cared about the art… and her incredible slide lectures exposed us to hundreds of different artists in exhaustive and thrilling class sessions...She was an expert at photographic printing techniques and had an eye that was more finely tuned to the subtleties of the print than anyone else I’ve met.”

As great an impact as Diane had for the institutions to which she devoted boundless energies, she was perhaps most well-known for the creation of a small, vital bookstore that began in a corner of Presentation House Gallery before migrating into a purpose-built space at The Polygon. Anyone interested in photography and photobooks knew Diane’s bookstore was where to go, and it deservedly earned a reputation as one of the most focused and well-curated art bookshops in Vancouver, indeed in Canada. When asked by a journalist by what criteria the books were selected, Diane responded, in her inimitably humble, forthright way: “Just me…”


Polygon Gallery

The Polygon Gallery celebrates the life of Diane Evans through the establishment of the Diane Evans Fund in The Polygon’s Endowment Fund. Donations will be invested in perpetuity and are eligible for matching funds from the Government of Canada, doubling the impact of each gift. Donations in Diane’s memory are gratefully accepted.

Find out more here.