Sue Gibbs and David Finnis ponder the future of the Summerland Community Arts Council. The arts council’s present facility has been sold and as a result

Artists consider relocation challenges

Anyone who has received an eviction notice knows the range of emotions one goes through at the thought of having to leave their home.

Anyone who has received an eviction notice knows the range of emotions one goes through at the thought of having to leave their home.

The volunteer members of the Summerland Community Arts Council, a registered non-profit organization, are currently dealing with this same situation.

The building they have renovated and occupied for the past 16 years has been sold by the District of Summerland.

Although the district has allocated funds to help them relocate, it has not proved to be that simple.

“It’s been a really tough slog for the steering committee,” said Sue Gibbs, a long-time volunteer with the organization.

One of the members on this committee is the council’s president, David Finnis.

“It’s not just physically relocating us; it’s ensuring that the people doing it don’t get burned out,” he said.

The other conundrum the arts council faces is how to carry on with the many programs it is already committed to this year.

“We have a whole range of things happening this calendar year that just happen to fall smack in the middle of it all, so on top of trying to run programs we are now trying to find a house,” explained Finnis. He also mentioned the artist in residence, Margot Stoltz, who was to be in the building’s basement studio until the first of September as being the “first casualty.”

“I know myself with the artists; I sign a contract with them the year before their shows,” Gibbs said. “It is a legal contract. Now I have to contact them and say, guess what guys, we don’t know where we’re going to be and if your show is even going to happen.”

No matter what the difficulties this group of volunteers are facing, Gibbs said,

“We’re going to keep soldiering on until we all drop. We believe it is important. The alternative is unthinkable to us.”

And what may that alternative be?

“The alternative is to shut down,” Finnis said. “It is tempting to say we’re just folding. The challenge here is not to succumb to the negativity after the initial shock. If we suddenly are all overwhelmed and stop, the building will get bulldozed, there will be no gallery. There will be no street banners, no Summer Arts Program for kids, no Art Walk with art in 40 different businesses down town, no Season’s Sparkles for people to come to during the Festival of Lights.”

The arts council is grateful to the District of Summerland for recognizing that arts and culture are important to both the quality of life and the economic activity of the community. It is also their wish for those responsible in the decision making process to come and see what they do and to gain a greater understanding of their needs.

“We don’t want to be part of a downward spiral. We actually think we could be more of an upward spiral if we were incorporated into what happens in the community,” said Finnis.

Gibbs is hoping for a multi-millionaire to come forward.

“I have a wonderful dream. We have this packing house sitting there and I could see that having the library, the museum, the art gallery, an intimate theatre, a dance studio. There’s all that parking space and the loading docks for theatre stuff. It is huge money but we could turn this town into an art oasis,” she said.

As it stands now, the deadline for the arts council to have vacated the building is June 30. The last showing scheduled to be hung in the gallery is called, Our Journey Ends Here, which is “incredibly prophetic,” Finnis mused.

If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at carlamcleod@shaw.ca or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.

 

Just Posted

Place mats given to Summerland care facility

Hand-quilted mats made by Summerland Material Girls given to Dr. Andrew Pavillion in Summerland

Bottleneck Drive raises funds for Summerland Food Bank

Money was raised during tasting events at Summerland Festival of Lights

Nature Trust of B.C. purchases property in South Okanagan

Parcel will be added to White Lake biodiversity ranch

Investigation into Naramata fire chief could wrap up before year end

An outside company has been investigating Naramata fire chief since Oct. 22 when he was suspended

EDITORIAL: Considering carriage houses

Changes in established neighbourhoods can also result in changes to the character of the area

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

Missing man last seen in Shuswap

Red Deer RCMP would like public’s help locating elderly man with dementia last observed in Sicamous

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Most Read