ArtZone announces building fund for permanent arts and culture space

A recent focus session sparked the idea to fund a permanent home for Sun Peaks’ art organization.
Three storey high Swiss Alps style buildings surround a walkway covered with snow.  Three people wearing ski and snowboard clothing are in the centre walking with their backs visible.
ArtZone is looking for a permanent space to hold workshops and events. Photo by Zuzy Rocka.

ArtZone is one step closer to finding a permanent home for its organization.

Members discussed funding a dedicated space during an April 12 focus session, the organization’s third planning meeting since 2019. Guest speakers for the event included Revelstoke Arts executive director Daniel Bhattacharya and Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality Mayor Al Raine.

Marj Knive, ArtZone’s president, said Arlene Schieven of Tourism Sun Peaks was also in attendance and helped ArtZone members determine how they can work together to enhance events held by TSP and the artists’ organization. 

Raine explored how ArtZone can find a permanent home in Sun Peaks.

“We pressed [Raine] hard about finding a home because we’re desperate… nothing has been secured at this point and we’re running out of ideas,” Knive said.

Finding a permanent space became a focal point during the workshop and the group officially decided to start a building fund. 

Currently, ArtZone holds events and seminars throughout the village. The building fund would rely on a portion of sales and event profits in order to support the organization’s future property investment.

“A percentage of everything we sell or any event that we put on will go into that fund so that we know that when [an opportunity] comes along, we have the resources,” Knive explained.

Previously, ArtZone wanted to use the red barn between the east and west village as a community hub but was unsuccessful, as the building is used for golf maintenance and storage. 

Moving forward, the group would consider an unfinished basement where members could hold workshops as well.

In addition to planning the fund, ArtZone members discussed how the organization could expand its programming to collaborate with Indigenous artists and invigorate Sun Peaks’ music and theatre scene.

Bhattacharya’s presentation focused on the similarities and differences between Revelstoke’s and Sun Peaks’ art scenes.

Revelstoke differs from Sun Peaks because its older architecture is well-suited to art installations, which ArtZone wants to increase in the community.

The funding models for each organization, however, are very similar. Bhattacharya explained that incorporating reconciliation, inclusion, equity and accessibility into programming meets important criteria for grants and funding. 

Knive said attendees examined how well ArtZone is focusing on these criteria and highlighted the film screenings held by the group, including Precious Leader Women and Salmon Parks, which focus on Indigenous rights and the all-ages nature of their programming. 

She said ArtZone members especially want to engage in programming with local Indigenous communities and increase music and theatre programming.

“We really want to get a community theatre in Sun Peaks,” Knive told SPIN.

To do that, ArtZone is testing the waters by bringing in a U.S.-based theatre production company, Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT), from Oct. 2 to 7. 

MCT will collaborate with ArtZone to organize a theatre production involving local children from kindergarten to grade 12. Organization leaders will use the skills they’ve learned to plan and host future theatre productions.

“Two theatre directors come into town. They bring the set, the lights, the costumes, the makeup, everything but the actor [and the stage crew],” Knive explained.

MCT chooses 50 to 60 students for the stage and behind-the-scenes work and there are workshops throughout the week for kids that aren’t chosen to be part of the production.

The week will culminate with two public performances — ArtZone organizers hope to use the stage at Sun Peaks Centre.

Current exhibitions in partnership with ArtZone include Mei Lin Cheung’s work at Vertical Cafe, Janet Scruggs’ art at Sotheby’s and collaborative exhibitions at Sun Peaks Resort Guest Services, Sun Peaks Grant Hotel and Tourism Sun Peaks.

ArtZone is also seeking feedback from the public through an online survey to plan an art event in September.

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