A two-decade-long campaign to raise money and win grants has brought a new Hornby Island Arts Centre closer to reality. If all goes smoothly, construction on the multi-use facility will start this fall.
Submissions from builders are being accepted until Monday. Once the winning bid is selected, the project can move ahead.
A one-storey, wood-frame 4,600-square-foot building designed by D’Arcy Jones Architects will replace an old 40-foot ATCO trailer used by the non-profit Arts Council for years.
The centre will be in the same location at 2115A Sollans Rd. and will be open throughout the year. A nominal rent is being paid to use the site on public land.
The building will feature an exhibition room, presentation room, lobby, food and beverage area, offices, washrooms, preparation and storage space, and a circular indoor-outdoor gathering space.
Its exterior is intended to reflect the stucco and cedar seen in Hornby Island buildings, while interior plans are aimed at highlighting the nearby woods and light.
The centre will make a “dramatic difference” to what’s available to artists, with space for additional workshops, group shows and digital art, said Arts Council executive director Andrew Mark.
The bigger space will permit longer-term exhibitions, of up to three months, for example, he said.
“We’ve never been able to do something like that before.”
One room is expected to have a sprung floor, which would allow dance workshops.
The estimated cost of the building is confidential for now because the project is still in the bidding stage. Over the years, artists have donated their work to raise funds for the centre. Funds have also come from various organizations and governments.
With a year-round population of about 1,000, Hornby Island is steeped in art. “Very strongly embedded in the Hornby culture is the fact that almost everyone here is involved in some kind of creative activity,” said Louise McMurray, president of the non-profit Arts Council.
Both youth and adult programs are planned in the new centre.
McMurray, a fibre artist, expects Hornby Island will play a much bigger role within B.C.’s cultural network once its facility opens.
The centre will enrich the local arts community, McMurray said — artists from elsewhere can be invited to the island to share their gifts, while local artists working in different mediums will be able to showcase their work and spend time together.