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Welcoming Whistler back to the new-and-improved Point

Point Artist-Run Centre hosting multidisciplinary reopening celebration June 17 after winter of renos
WFF Screen Writers Lab at The Point.
Renovations at the new-look Point Artist-Run Centre will be on full display on June 17 for a reopening event featuring art, live music and theatrical performances.

The small cabin on the western shores of Alta Lake has served a few different purposes since it was built sometime around 60 years ago by Whistler pioneer Dick Fairhurst

First, it operated as a guest lodge before eventually turning into a hostel in the ’70s. The land itself had welcomed tourists to the area years before that, with adventurous travellers flocking to a series of lakeside cabins as early as the 1920s. But since 2011, locals have known it as The Point Artist-Run Centre.

Now, the space is gearing up to host a reopening event on Friday, June 17, welcoming the community back to the Centre after it closed its doors for a slate of renovations over the winter.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) wanted to keep the municipally owned building “in good repair,” said The Point’s artistic director Stephen Vogler, “so there were some things that it needed; some sprucing up and some improvements.”
The upgrades are “not huge changes,” he added, but include refinished floors, a fresh coat of paint, new lighting and electrical upgrades, to name a few. 

RMOW staff “were really good [about] working with us and allowing us to have input, because we like to try to keep—and I’m sure they do too—that sort of funky heritage aspect combined with arts-centre feel to it,” he said. “Because we’ve really come to love the place over the 11 years that we’ve been operating in there.”

The Centre has already welcomed a few groups in for music classes, theatre rehearsals and Whistler Film Festival screenwriters labs since the renovations were completed, but its official unveiling will see an audience return for the first time. 

On June 17, the community is invited to take in a visual art show curated by Whistler painter Lisa Geddes, before being treated to a performance from Pemberton musician Austin Ross. Rounding out the evening will be a series of short monologues written by North Vancouver playwright John McGie and performed by a roster of Whistler, Squamish and Vancouver actors. 

The evening will begin at 4 p.m. with the free art reception featuring the works of 10 artists including Geddes, Atty Gell, Julie Hamilton, Jeff Heintzman, Roberta Horn, Hugh Kearney, Stephanie Lowe, Andrea Mueller, Christina Nick and Allison van Gruen, before the ticketed portion of the event kicks off at 6 p.m. 

Ross’ set will be followed by McGie’s Chair Series featuring actors Brandon Barrett, Kathy Daniels, Warde Troyer, Susan Hutchinson, Sara Marrocco, Brodie Prescott and Amy Reid. 

A cash bar and snacks for purchase will be available. Tickets are for sale at thepointartists.com for $20.

It’s far from the first time McGie’s Chair Series has appeared on The Point’s stage.

The “incredibly prolific writer” asks “each actor for one word, and then he creates their monologue based on that one word,” Vogler explained. 

These are exactly the kinds of events and performances that Vogler hopes will fill The Point for decades to come. Ahead of its “busiest summer ever planned,” Vogler said the Centre’s years-long casual arrangement with the RMOW is also taking on a more permanent structure in 2022. 

“There’s never been any kind of security of our position there, but we are just now working out a long-term operating agreement with the RMOW, which we’ll have hopefully completed … by this coming fall,” Vogler explained.

“That will give us more security there and we can plan a bit more in terms of looking forward as an artist-run centre, and still including the community in other programming as well. It’s exciting times for The Point right now.”