Homebase Studios celebrates its second year 

Squamish studio holds Swank Deu-lux soiree Sunday

click to enlarge PHOTO BY KEVIN SOO/KEVIN SUOO PHOTOGRAPHY - Homebase homies The Homebase Studio artists stay classy at their first soiree last year, celebrating their one-year anniversary. From left to right: Stan Matwychuk, Chantel Roberts, Nate Smith, Laurel Terlesky, Samera Gibson and Amber Butler.
  • Photo by Kevin Soo/Kevin Suoo Photography
  • Homebase homies The Homebase Studio artists stay classy at their first soiree last year, celebrating their one-year anniversary. From left to right: Stan Matwychuk, Chantel Roberts, Nate Smith, Laurel Terlesky, Samera Gibson and Amber Butler.

Homebase Studios is celebrating its second birthday this week. A big round of applause guys. You made it.

And with this anniversary comes an optimism about the studio's future from its creative director, Stan Matwychuk.

"It's been a pretty exciting road," he says. "There have been lots of cool projects and I've met a lot of great people. It's definitely getting stronger, you know?"

As a thank you to the community, Homebase is throwing the Swank Deu-lux anniversary party this Sunday at the studio, including an art auction featuring local artists, food and drink from local presenters and a performance by Squamish's indie-folk duo Step Twelve.

Matwychuk founded the studio in 2010 as a creative design and consulting business centre, where Squamish artists would collaborate on myriad projects, from art exhibitions, to event management, to artist promotion. Matwychuk, along with artists Laurel Terlesky and Amber Butler, as well as a revolving door of other local artists, created it as a grassroots organization to promote Squamish artists and other creative professionals.

Matwychuk says he's quite pleased with the studio's successes so far.

"I was revisiting my business plan and the goals have all definitely been attained," he says. "I was actually quite surprised in reading through it (the first business plan). A lot of the stuff has been set out for us to be a grassroots group of artists and have (our) own little niche that we're working toward while collaborating in a bigger context and reciprocate the energy that you get from the community."

The studio has been heavily involved with Squamish's Business Improvement Association in helping to revitalize the downtown core. While the BIA's focus is on businesses helping businesses, Matwychuk says Homebase is now ensuring that local arts and culture will help businesses as well. This has included murals and community arts events, including the upcoming street art festival during LIVE at Squamish in August, where a downtown alley will be transformed into a live mural painting.

Matwychuk also curated State of the Art at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in April. He's worked as a creative consultant for Sea to Sky Community Services and done outreach at local high schools, among other things.

Perhaps Homebase's greatest success so far has been helping to establish a precedent in Squamish for earning a living through one's art.

"The most challenging issues are connecting the business to the art and I've been fortunate enough to connect the dots and involved people to make things happen on a community scale. It's been humbling to see that happen," he says.

Within the next two years, he says he plans to broaden Homebase's scope in partnering with organizations that are defining the Sea to Sky Corridor's culture, from the Squamish Arts Council, Whistler Arts Council and groups in Vancouver to help bridge what he sees as a "gap" between the two areas.

"I'm also just figuring these things out as I'm going because it's constantly changing," he says. "Having these things in black and white is definitely valuable and I'm not fully there yet, to be honest. I'm always trying to figure out the next goal, you know?"

The Swank Deu-lux soiree starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday. The dress code is "semi-dressy." Everyone is welcome.

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