Pemberton Arts Council brings artists, writers and musicians together 

Inaugural meeting generates ideas

Peer support and increased opportunities are on the way for Pemberton artists thanks to an initiative by painter/jewelry designer Karen Love.

Love put out the call to form the Pemberton Arts Council (PAC) for artists in Pemberton and the neighbouring community of Mount Currie in early January. Support for adding another arts group in the Sea to Sky corridor was forthcoming from both Squamish and Whistler arts councils.

"Although we’re not Saltspring, or one of the other Gulf Islands with a number of artists, we do have a lot of people doing creative things in the valley. I thought it would be great to get everyone together to create more awareness and opportunities for artists in Pemberton," said Love.

"We all feel there needs to be a greater arts presence in our community and that we have to make opportunities for artists. We believe that the arts and culture in the valley will grow once we’re established."

At the group’s inaugural meeting, Jan. 12, creative artists, including sculptors, writers and musicians, were joined by their supporters to establish a board of directors. In total, 23 people showed up representing passions for everything from fabric arts to multi-media installation work. The newly elected executive consists of chairperson Mike Tyler, vice-chair Martin Dahinden, secretary Maureen Wale and treasurer Renate Barem.

While Love expected artists to show, she was very pleased by the number of patrons of the arts, such as Wale who sits on Whistler’s public art committee, who have decided to get involved.

"I think the non-artists in the group are going to play a very important role," said Love. She cites Wale’s involvement with Whistler’s public art committee as an example of the vital experience and knowledge that non-artists can bring. As well, she said that skills such organization and promotion often elude artists who would rather be creators than business people.

Love and her fellow artists envision creating a space for artists to gather, support each other and show their work. One of the concepts the group is entertaining is to work in conjunction with existing community organizations to take an older building and refurbish it.

While the new group has not approached the Village of Pemberton council, Mayor Jordan Sturdy has suggested that one member of the arts council sit on the advisory board of the new community centre.

"It would be great to have space in the new community centre to meet and be able to show art in various meeting rooms, as well as to have a space for shows," said Love.

This summer Pemberton will be celebrating its 50 th anniversary of incorporation and Love feels that this would be a good tie-in for the arts council’s initial event, possibly in the arena of public art. At this point, she can’t really speculate what form that potential piece of art might take other than to say, "Martin really wants to build something."

However, the first thing the arts council will be building is a website. Undertaken by Tyler, the website will play a vital role for the arts council’s membership, featuring events, individual artist profiles and listings. Love expects the website to be up and running within a few weeks.

The arts council next meets next on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call Love at 604-894-5558.

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