Report recommends visual arts centre

The Golden Visual Arts Guild will be hosting an open house meeting on Tuesday, December 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Seniors Centre to present the findings from a report that they have been conducting for the last six months.

The report, titled Feasibility Report for an Arts and Cultural Centre with a Focus on Visual Arts, outlines the need and the support for a visual arts centre in Golden. The report was funded by a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust.

“The community is passionate and united on this, everyone I have spoken to have been really supportive of the concept of a centre of visual arts,” said Magi Scallion, who will be one of the presenters at Tuesday’s meeting. “They’re all excited to contribute and listen to each other’s ideas. It’s been one of the most respectful communities and process I’ve been involved with.”

The grant was received by the Golden District Arts Council, a non-profit organization that is also known as Kicking Horse Culture.

Kicking Horse Culture has played a supporting role in this project, as they themselves are at capacity and are otherwise occupied with other projects in the community, according to Scallion. They’ve been supporting this smaller group that have been leading the way, without spreading their own resources too thin.

The results from the report have clearly indicated that there is a need and want for a physical visual arts centre in Golden.

“Not one person I spoke to suggested that it should be any different,” said Scallion. “It’s quite a passionate group of visual artists in Golden, everything from painting on canvas to pottery and mixed media and photography.”

The next steps to take after the conclusion of this report would be to use the findings to generate more support in order to actually begin construction on a facility. They’ll need to look for volunteers to help source grants in order to create paid jobs, and decide on membership fees.

Membership fees are key to the financial sustainability of the centre, so that it won’t rely just on public funds. Scallion doesn’t think that this will be a problem.

“A lot of people seemed to suggest they would be willing to pay a similar membership as they would for a yoga studio or gym,” said Scallion. “Volunteer support and the passion of the community would make all the difference in getting things done sooner.”

Scallion thinks looking at this like a gym or a yoga studio is a fair comparison for what it will bring to the community. Much like a gym or yoga studio creates a more active community, having a visual arts centre will help develop a more creative one, by giving people a space to practice their craft and potentially take lessons.

“We have plenty of artists and artisans in Golden already, but this will make the community stronger,” said Scallion. “It’ll provide more creative outlets for the community in Golden and create more artists and artisans.”

The full report will be presented on Tuesday at the meeting, followed by a question and answer period to field any queries about the potential visual arts centre.