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Old building to be turned into ‘art garage’

Pemberton Arts Council to use facility to raise arts awareness

By Cindy Filipenko

The old Pemberton Dyking District garage is getting a facelift thanks to the Pemberton Arts Council.

The facility, one of the last original buildings in the town centre, will get a new coat of paint in heritage red thanks to a deal struck between the two organizations. The dyking district has leased the building to the arts council for $1 a year in exchange for the group sprucing up the two buildings on the Astor Street property.

“We want to dress up the buildings on that corner to make a presence in the town to show that the arts community is pulling together,” said painter Karen Love, the arts council’s founder and a current board member. “Once people see that we’re serious and active, they may see what they can do to get involved. We’re trying to help put together a vision for the community. We’re here for everyone. It’s the community’s art council.”

Despite having a building, the arts council is no closer to actually having a physical home. Building code requirements and the associated costs make it prohibitively expensive for the 35-member arts organization to make the building safe for public use.

“We don’t want to impede them, but we want it to be safe,” said Sheena Fraser, deputy clerk for the Village of Pemberton.

“I understand there are structural issues with the building. It would require quite a bit of work to make it safe for the public to be in that building.”

Instead of putting all its resources and energy into finding ways to bring the building up to code, the arts council has decided to use the facility as a “billboard”, effectively turning the 500 sq. ft. building into an outdoor gallery.

“We’re going to do the sponsor art thing and hang art on the building,” explained Love.

She hopes that by raising the group’s profile they will attract supporters and be in a better position to leverage funding, through private fundraising initiatives and grants.

“If we have any support we can raise some money and make the building into a venue area,” said Love. “But that will be down the road, it won’t be this fall or anything.

“It’s to say we’re going to have a place in our community’s future. Everywhere you go in the world, art is part of the community.”

Interest in the arts throughout the Pemberton valley indicates that support for a permanent building may be forthcoming. While the arts council has 35 dues-paying members, many more people attend the group’s monthly meeting.   “We’re getting more new people coming out. We have a lot of new people calling. It’s not the same people every time. There are lots of younger people. They’re all moving in and getting involved. It’s great to be building a body of creative people,” said Love.

The arts council is planning a studio tour weekend later his fall and will be participating in a forum this November to discuss the creation of a cultural corridor between West Vancouver and D’Arcy.

The group meets every third Thursday of the month at 1422 Collins Road at 7:30 p.m. For more information visit the website at: . New members, artists and non-artists, are welcome.