The dream of a central community art space has been on the local wish list for more than 30 years, according to Powell River Council for Arts and Culture president Nina Mussellam, and it is now finally close to reality.
The Art Centre, the community's new public art gallery, is a space located above the Powell River Public Library in the Crossroads Village Shopping Centre. The centre received its funding in October and started renovations at that time.
Currently, space is available for exhibitions and receptions and in the future it will hold workshops, classes and potentially be a place for artists to create, according to arts council vice-president Karen Kamon.
“The hardest part about galleries is sustainability," said Kamon, "so we have the studio room so we can run classes to help support that.”
Mussellam said the centre is looking for input and feedback from the community about what types of programs they would be interested in.
“We’re going to have a classroom area where people can meet for organized classes or drop-in sessions," said Mussellam.
The centre already had its first pop-up installation in November. Future Forests was the work of local artists Megan Dulcie Dill and Claudia Medina.
Next on the schedule is a collaboration with Powell River Film Festival during its February events.
“We are doing a video art installation at The Art Centre," said film festival executive director Gary Shilling. "It’s a different kind of cinema experience for Powell River audiences."
Shilling added that the centre is a welcome addition to the local arts community as it brings a different perspective to the scene.
“It's a more curated experience, mixing local art with BC and international art," said Shilling.
What currently stands between the centre opening full time is city permits and getting the space fully up to code, according to Mussellam.
“We have to jump through a few more hoops before they will give us a particular date," said Mussellam. "We’re trying to be very flexible."
In the meantime, scheduling for 2018 is going ahead.
“We have plans all the way until summer of things that we would like to have happen there,” said Mussellam.
Kamon said she is optimistic that The Art Centre will become another meeting place and focal point for the community.
"So many communities have linked up their arts and culture and their libraries and you get that hub," said Kamon, "and we have the wonderful, central location."
For more information, go to powellriverartscouncil.ca.