‘It’s been a dream of ours’: Arts Centre opens in Cowichan Valley as hub for creative people

'It's been a dream of ours': Arts Centre opens in Cowichan Valley as hub for creative people
Loretta Puckrin/submitted
The Arts Centre will be a place for creative people to sell their items.

A new Arts Centre in Youbou aims to be a hub for creative people in the Cowichan Valley to create, learn, interact, and sell their creations.

Loretta Puckrin, president of the Cowichan Lake Arts & Culture Society, says the Cowichan Valley is full of creative people.

“My personal feeling is that if you take any block, anywhere around the Cowichan Valley and visit house by house, you will find two to three creative people,” she said in a Zoom interview with CHEK News.

“There are just so many that we would like to get them together we would like to find out who they are and what they do, and give them a chance to explore both in learning new things, as well as in selling what they already create.”

She says this has been a goal of the society’s for a long time, but the gears didn’t start rolling to make it a reality until March 1.

“It’s been a dream of ours since we incorporated in December of 2016,” Puckrin said.

“We got the empty space, we found a whole bunch of donated retail exhibit spots and put in our pegboards. So it’s all been done with donations and volunteer work, and well, things like Telus we have to pay for we can’t get that volunteer, but aside from that, 90 per cent of it has been volunteer work and donated materials.”

Now that it is opened, the art centre will serve a variety of purposes.

“We include heritage arts, culinary arts, not just painting and sculpture, musicians of all sorts, performers of all sorts. We wanted to have a home where various creative people have a way to sell their product, and the workshop space, we’re looking at renting out the space at a very nominal cost to other not for profits,” Puckrin said.

“We want it to be a center for all of the arts to come together, we have drop in where people don’t have to pay they can come use us as a studio. So really want to develop the community.”

The Arts Centre had a soft opening on April 27, then officially opened on May 1.

Puckrin says artists can come to the Arts Centre to ask to sell their items in the Cowichan Valley. You have to become a member, which costs between $15 to $45 per year, then a commission will be paid to the centre for items sold.

If you become a subscriber, which comes with a monthly fee, then the commission is five per cent, which Puckrin says is an option that artists whose items sell for a higher price point may prefer, or without becoming a subscriber the commission is 30 per cent.

For now, the space is available for creative people to use or sell their wares, but there are plans the society hopes to implement in the future.

“With the people who are paying a monthly fee, we’re in the process of organizing one person shows,” Puckrin said. “So they would take over our whole workshop area with just their product. And then we would have a show just for them.”

Puckrin says the goal of this space is to make a space for the creative community to come together.

“What we find is, aside from the performance arts, most arts are very solitary. So you go into the studio you create by yourself, you don’t have the input of other people,” she said.

“So this gives them the chance to develop a community of like minded people.”

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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