The Community Arts Council of the Alberni Valley operates the Rollin Art Centre, a cultural focal point of the community. The Centre houses a permanent collection of art, mostly donated by local artist and teacher Robert Aller in 1995. Aller studied with Arthur Lismer of the Group of Seven and is also known for his work with and support of First Nations artists. The collection includes works by Aller and pieces he collected from friends and colleagues.
The CURA project i nvolved extensive research of the Centre 's collection and works by Aller in private collections. A database was designed for the Centre and the collection was catalogued. The works were photographed and digitized, and a virtual exhibit was created by UVic team members Jeffrey Werner and Catlin Lewis. The virtual exhibit is hosted by the Maltwood Museum and Art Gallery.
From January 32 to March 12, 2005, the Alberni Valley Museum hosted the project exhibition "Visions of the West Coast: Robert Aller and His Community,” which celebrated the creative expression of artists living or working in the Alberni Valley Region. Many of the works on displayed are from Robert Aller's personal donation to the Rollin Art Centre, while others are works by local artists from the Centre's permanent collection. In 1965, Robert Aller, George Clutesi and others formed the Community Arts Council of the Alberni Valley to bring together the growing number of cultural groups which had been forming in around Port Alberni. In 1995, Robert Aller donated twenty works of art, including four of his own works, to the Rollin Art Centre. This important group of Canadian paintings was the largest and most significant donation to the Centre, and marked the celebration of the Community Arts Council's thirty-year anniversary. Robert Aller began his collection while he was enrolled as a student at the Vancouver School of Art in 1946. Many of the artists represented in his collection were personal friends or teachers, including George Clutesi, Fred Amess and Arthur Lismer. The exhibition highlighted the work of some of these accomplished artists, and emphasized Robert Aller's roles as an artist, teacher and benefactor.
The exhibition travelled to the University of Victoria, where it was on display at the MacPherson Library from March 31 to May 1, 2005. A small catalogue was published by CURA and the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery to accompany the show. Copies are available from the Rollin Art Centre