Artists making a Point 

Proposal for community art centre on lakefront municipal land inching forward

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"That's an important thing for the community, to have that conversation going on between the artists and the public. I think it would be a very popular place for people to go to but the park would be experienced more through the lens of the arts," continued Vogler. "Ultimately we'd like to lease it for a dollar per year, that would be the ideal situation, but whatever the arrangement is, the goal is to make it self-sustaining."

This early in the process, supporters are still hashing out how to prove the viability of an arts centre away from the village. One of the ideas being considered is a summer arts festival to show the municipality that the demand for cultural tourism and support for local arts is there.

Metal artist Christina Nick, who sits on The Point's board of directors, says the prohibitive prices of studio space makes Whistler a difficult place to do business. She moved to Squamish when she couldn't find a reasonably priced space to work, though she would prefer to live and work in Whistler.

"I feel like I can't come back, it's as if the doors are closed to me now. I have a real connection to this place," said Nick, a former director of the Whistler Arts Council who started Whistler's Artrageous in 1992.

"I'm unable to come back here and work so it's definitely frustrating for me and that's why The Point would be important to me, because I could live and work - I could be one of their artists in residents, which would make my day."

Nick said she'd like to see the RMOW get behind the rhetoric that promotes Whistler's cultural scene. Without some kind of improved commitment from the municipality, she feels it will be an impossible place for artists to live and work.

"Ever since I've been here the municipality has touted Whistler as a cultural place but the reality for artists is that there is not really a cultural community because there is nowhere for artists to get together to exchange ideas, to work in an open studio type of atmosphere," she said. "Either way they have to pay for the property. We're not going to be a huge drain financially. We won't be making them gobs of money but we will be answering the call they have to create a cultural identity. There you go, on a platter."

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