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Profile 1 – Jane Derby

By Seth DuChene
with photography by Bernard Clark

When it comes to journeys of self-discovery, it’s impossible to predict when — or if —you’re going to get to your destination. Just ask Jane Derby. Jane, in recent years, has established herself as a mainstay of Kingston’s art scene, both as an artist and as an organizer. Her unique artwork, which often blends traditional with unconventional mediums, has been featured in solo exhibitions as well as in group shows in Kingston and beyond.

That’s also hardly how Jane could have predicted things would go. The life of an artist was not what she envisioned growing up in the Kingston area. Or when she was working as a high school English teacher. Or as a journalist. Yet, here she is. Jane has never stopped looking for what would make her happiest, and that has led to wonderful, if unforeseeable, outcomes.

Jane was born in Ottawa but moved to Kingston when she was very young; she started kindergarten at the public school on the Armed Forces base, where her father, a surgeon, was stationed. Later, when she was 10 or 11, her family moved to a house on Highway 2, just east of the base.

“My siblings and I would walk through the woods, down to the limestone flat rocks on the river and swim off of them. I also collected things and wrote little books. . . .