For artists and arts organizations, the coming weeks will be a difficult time of transition as the Summerland Arts Centre will move to a new location.
This marks the second time since 2014 that the arts centre has had to move.
Earlier, the centre had operated out of the former municipal hall building on Main Street, but when that building was demolished to make room for the new library branch, the centre had to move to its present location across the street.
The next location for the arts centre will be in the proposed community centre on Wharton Street. The centre will be in the former public library building.
This is not a simple case of moving a gallery from one space to another. Instead, at least 15 groups under the umbrella of the Summerland Community Arts Centre will be affected. These include visual artists, fabric artists, potters, dramatic arts, writers and more. The arts centre also runs the street banner program, a summer concert series at Okanagan Lake, workshops and art exhibits.
Summerland’s arts scene includes many people. All are affected whenever there is a move or a disruption.
The present building was meant as a temporary location and a change of location was expected.
However, the move comes at a time when the municipality is revisiting its relationship with the arts. Over the past year, a task force has sought community input on the role of arts and culture.
When the new centre opens its doors, it will be a cultural centre rather than an arts centre or art gallery. The governance model for this centre is needed, but has not yet been finalized.
It is equally important that the next arts location has a degree of permanence.
If we as a community truly value arts and culture, we need to ensure there is a long-term home for the arts.
Uncertainty and upheaval will benefit nobody.