Future unsure for Summerland arts council

The Summerland Community Arts Council has a space for now, but whether that space will work for the long term is not yet known.

The Summerland Community Arts Council has a space for now, but whether that space will work for the long term is not yet known.

In July, the Arts Council moved into the new location at 9908 Main St., across from its former location.

The former building, used as an arts centre for 16 years, had been sold to the Okanagan Regional Library as the site of a new public library.

David Finnis, president of the Arts Council, said the move to the new location has had advantages and drawbacks.

The space is great for visibility. It’s great for the gift gallery,” he said. “It is a good location for us and we feel we are a good tenant on Main Street. It adds to the vibrancy.”

Finnis said the disadvantages are that the new location has less overall space and is not as good for an art gallery.

Because the building is considerably smaller than the last location, the permanent art collection is now housed at the Penticton Art Gallery.

That has now disappeared out of town,” Finnis said. “It’s a loss to the community.”

The new building does not have proper lighting in place for art exhibits, he said. Because the gallery portion in the new building is not as good as in the old location, Finnis said some artists who have exhibited in Summerland before will not resubmit for shows in the new location.

The open layout also results in sound problems.

While the gallery space can be upgraded with more suitable lighting and changes to the interior walls, a more pressing question has to do with the cost of the space.

For this year, the municipality is covering the rent payments on the new Arts Centre space, but a long-term funding commitment is lacking. If the rent for the new facility is not covered by the municipality, the Arts Council will require an additional $1,800 a month to pay for the space.

There has been some discussion about providing the existing library building on Wharton Street to the Arts Council once the library has moved to its Main Street location.

Finnis said the long-term future of this location is also uncertain.

In the last decade, the block of Wharton Street which includes the library has twice been considered seriously by developers.

We don’t want to move anywhere temporary again,” Finnis said.

He added that the Arts Council’s volunteers had a lot of work in late spring as they moved to the new location.